WMFR welcomes new commissioner

WMFR welcomes new commissioner
Administrative manager Julie Kichar swears in returning Commissioner Larry Jennis and new Commissioner Robert Bennett. - Kristin Swain | Sun

BRADENTON – West Manatee Fire Rescue district commissioners had their hands full at their final meeting of the calendar year.

Commissioners welcomed Commissioner Larry Jennis back to the dais for another four-year term along with new Commissioner Robert Bennett. Both were sworn in during the district’s Nov. 17 meeting.

Board officers for 2021 also were selected during the meeting, with Jennis receiving a unanimous vote to serve as chair. Commissioner George Harris was unanimously selected to serve as vice-chair and Bennett received the support of his fellow commissioners to serve as secretary/treasurer.

The first shovels are in the ground at the site of the new West Manatee Fire Rescue administration building. – Submitted | WMFR

In other business, Chief Ben Rigney told commissioners that a small groundbreaking ceremony had been held at the site of the district’s new administration building at 701 63rd St. W. in Bradenton. With permits in hand, he said that footer construction had begun and the building is projected to be completed by April or May 2021.

Jennis volunteered to be the new board liaison on the project, a position previously held by former Commissioner Randy Cooper.

Commissioner Al Robinson took the opportunity during commissioner comments to again express his displeasure that his fellow commissioners voted to construct a new administration building rather than stay in the district’s temporary administrative offices at Palma Sola Presbyterian Church, located just across the street from the district’s previous administration building.

With the December meeting canceled due to the holidays, WMFR commissioners will next meet in January 2021.

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