DSA Sees Leadership Shift

Exec Moves

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING WEDNESDAY AUG 12, 2015

A shake-up over the weekend puts a new chairman at the helm of the Downtown Sarasota Alliance and also shows a continued state of fracture of civic leaders. The DSA announced Michael Beitzinger was taking the helm of the organization. The move came after prominent land-use Casey Colburn said he was asked to resign. Beitzinger is the vice president for IberiaBank and the branch manager for its downtown location. 

Colburn said personality conflict led to his departure. He said the move is representative of the division that affects numerous organizations in the city. “I didn’t know it was happening within this organization,” he said. Colburn noted that the DSA was founded after failed talks about the future of the Downtown Partnership and Downtown Merchants Association, and said since its inception the group has still experienced internal tension. In a city where people tend to organize in opposition to ideas, Colburn said it becomes difficult to get constructive things done in an organization. “People are able to rally people to their cause because they are an alternative to what folks didn’t like, but that has limited shelf life,” he said. He noted issues like the opposition among many downtown people to a county-led effort to create a homeless shelter as an example.

The resignation was a surprise for some board members, many of whom did not attend the meeting this weekend. Board member Vic Scully attributed the change simply to the fact Colburn, who recently remarried, needed time to focus on his new family and law firm. “I like Casey very much,” Scully said. “He has got to carry on with life, but I think he is a great citizen. Mike is also a solid citizen. He has been on the board for several years and he will carry on some of the things Casey was doing. The DSA is alive and well, and we plan to just go forward.”

Beitzinger did not return calls to his workplace or DSA Tuesday. In a press release, his credentials in the community were touted, including his work with the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota and with the Notre Dame Club of Sarasota, where he is president. He also serves on the finance committee for the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness and is a mentor at Harvest House. Professionally, Beitzinger has more than 25 years in banking, including as branch manager of Panther Community Bank in Naples and at banks and credit unions in Indiana.

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