HOLMES BEACH -- Carmel Monti, elected in November 2012 as mayor of Holmes Beach, will not run for re-election this year.
In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, the 67-year-old shared the reasons behind his decision, which include public incivility and his business suffering.
"I did not realize how much time it would take and how broken the system is in City Hall," Monti said. "I don't mean to be disrespectful but it's not a part-time job. We inherited what I consider a lot of issues that need to be addressed."
Monti cited an article by Florida League of Cities Executive Director Michael Sittig titled "Conduct City Business with Order and Civility, Not Personal Attacks." The article centers on the direction discourse has taken during local government meetings and makes the argument "the discussion of important public issues has often resembled a free-for-all hosted by World Wrestling Entertainment instead of a dialogue to benefit the taxpayers of our communities."
"Truly, I'm appalled and saddened by how disrespectful people can be... to have an idea and you just want to act very uncivil and disrespectful to them just because you don't agree with them," he said. "What happened to being civil?"
Monti said he's been able to maintain his garden product business but not grow it since being elected. He plans on dedicating more time to building My Garden Products LLC.
Holmes Beach Police Chief William Tokajer said he would have liked to see Monti run again and continue to collaborate with Manatee County on projects.
"He hired me. I've had a very good working relationship with him," Tokajer said, adding he and Monti worked hard to enhance pedestrian safety by adding innovative signage in the center of roads, an idea Monti had after seeing something similar in Venice.
Monti said he is unsure about whether he will stay out of city affairs once his term is up, but said he wouldn't pursue a political position. However, he's open to vol
"I'm more than willing to do a transition for whoever takes the helm. I will do whatever I feel is in the best interest of this city," he said. "I feel sad about the situation more than angry about it."
At least one Holmes Beach commissioner wants to replace Monti. David Zaccagnino, a city commissioner for nine years, has already announced his mayoral bid.
"Long-time concerned citizens have asked me to step up and run for mayor," Zaccagnino said. "People want to restore some common sense into the mayor's seat."
When asked what areas he would improve upon, Zaccagnino said it was too early to discuss. Emails to the three other Holmes Beach commissioners and Commission Chairwoman Judy Titsworth were not returned as of press time.
Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon said he will miss Monti.
"Holmes Beach is our neighbor to the north. Mayor Monti has been very supportive," Shearon said, also describing him as a "very aggressive mayor."
"Until you're a mayor in the position, you don't realize how much it is," Shearon said. "I'm going to miss the opportunity of working with him."
Ed Moss, pastor at CrossPointe Fellowship in Holmes Beach, said he knows Monti well and he has had a high work ethic.
"He's done the best that he can figure out to do," Moss said. "Public office is hard. It's pretty easy for us to be critical of those who govern us."
Amaris Castillo, Law Enforcement/Island Reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. You can follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.