Thank You, Mr. Brown

Guest Correspondence

Image courtesy Twitter.

This is a column of gratitude to a City Manager who has shown amazing leadership in the City of Sarasota. It is a public thank you for all of the hard work, late hours and time away from his family while he restored trust with many segments of the community and city government. Thank you, Marlon Brown, for your leadership, forward-thinking and fiscal care.

I do not want this column weaponized by those for or against elected Mayor as a reflection on the city’s form of government. This column should be taken at face value, a column of thanks, in a month where we should be expressing gratitude, for the progress in this city since Mr. Brown has become City Manager.

The City of Sarasota has experienced a renaissance in government this past year despite COVID. We are very lucky to have a City Commission that had the foresight to appoint a City Manager that understands his role, exercises balanced judgment and listens to everyone before he makes decisions. You may not like his decision, but even then, you respect it, because you know you got a fair shake with him.

Whether it be neighborhood groups, business organizations, civic groups or individual citizens and businesses, most, if not all, are appreciative of the work of Marlon Brown and city staff under his leadership. He has led well this past year and he has not been afraid to tackle tough issues. He also understands his role as City Manager to implement commission policy and does not use his title to impose his own policy.

Marlon brings a great history but a fresh approach to Sarasota City Government that is inclusive, thoughtful and most of all, open to opinions. I have seen a remarkable difference not just in the business community, but with the general citizenry. To this day, it is not uncommon for a citizen to come to me as a former elected official with a problem and a request for guidance in government. When I refer a citizen to city government, I have found that the way things are handled in the city has changed this past year, and the city itself has become more responsive and responsible.

Fiscally, the city just saw its first tax cut in decades under Mr. Brown’s leadership. Instead of working to grow government and staff or get his favorite projects completed, Mr. Brown has thought about the working-class neighborhoods and the businesses who are continuing to struggle due to supply chain and COVID related issues.

It is always important to recognize good work when we see it, and the city commission was very wise in their appointment of Marlon Brown to City Manager. Mr. Brown, this is a very public thank you for all you have done for all of the citizens and businesses of the city. We don’t always agree, but we agree that you love the City of Sarasota and you have made a difference for everyone.

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation.

Image courtesy Twitter.

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