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Know your Safety Harbor candidates

Safety Harbor City Commission Seat 1

Incumbent Joe Ayoub faces two challengers, Robin Fornino and Karen Skiff, for a three-year term.

Joe Ayoub, 32

Experience: Ayoub, a CPA, has been on the commission since 2007. He graduated from Countryside High School in 1994 and got his bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Florida in 1998. He went on to get his master's degree in accounting from the University of South Florida in 1999. He has worked for American Dial Tone, IBM, Ernst & Young, CP Ships and ConMed Linvatec. For the past 17 months, he has been working with Mezrah Consulting as a vice president of business development.

Pitch to voters: "I am running for re-election because I believe Safety Harbor is a great city that is headed in the right direction and I want to keep it headed in the right direction. We are facing tough economic times and I want to work hard to watch our spending dollar by dollar, keep a fiscally responsible budget and keep our taxes low while still providing the level of services to our citizens that they have come to expect. I want to accomplish this while balancing the preservation of our city's small-town charm with responsible growth and a vibrant downtown.''

Assets Home, car, investments
Liabilities Mortgage
Net Worth $200,000
Hobbies Triathlons, tennis, family
Source of income Work
Personal Single, no children
Web site None listed
E-mail jayoub@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Robin Fornino, 50

Experience: Fornino has worked in financial services for 10 years and currently is a financial adviser with UBS. Before that, she was a program manager and partner at Environmental Resources Management in Tampa, a program director for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, an intern/scientist with the New York State Attorney General's Office and part-time math professor at College of Staten Island, City University of New York. She received her master's degree in environmental sciences at City University of New York. She graduated from Leadership Pinellas in 1996 and has a wide range of service organization experience.

Pitch to voters: "If elected, I will work toward consensus-building, a fiscally conservative commission and resident-friendly growth.''

She also touts that, in her professional capacity, she has managed multimillion-dollar projects for government agencies and private sector companies, and manages many millions in invested assets for clients. She also says she has specialized experience and credentials in emergency management planning and response.

Assets Home, 401(k), IRAs
Liabilities Mortgages, credit cards
Net worth $500,000
Source of income Job
Personal She lives in Safety Harbor with her husband, Robert Cangemi, and young son.
Web site None listed
E-mail fornino@earthlink.net

Karen Skiff, 39

Experience: Skiff, a security officer at the Pinellas County Government Complex in Clearwater, grew up in Safety Harbor and knows its history and its people well. She attended Safety Harbor Elementary School, Safety Harbor Middle School, St. Petersburg Junior College, Seminole Community College and Lake Technical School. She graduated from the city's Citizen's Academy and attends almost all City Commission meetings.

Pitch to voters: "Safety Harbor needs to thrive economically, but not at the cost of environmental degradation or endangering the unique small-town flavor that the majority of our citizens love.''

Assets Car, bank account
Liabilities None
Net worth Not available
Source of income Job
Personal Single, no children
Web site www.Karenskiff.com
E-mail stormspooked@hotmail.com

Safety Harbor City Commission Seat 2

Incumbent Mary Lynda Williams faces challenger Barbara Ewert for a three-year term.

Mary Lynda Williams, 60

Experience: Having joined the commission more than a year ago when former Commissioner Kathleen Earle stepped down, Williams is the vice mayor. She has lived in Safety Harbor for 30-plus years. For 34 years, she worked at Honeywell International, reaching the level of senior financial assistant. She is a graduate of Safety Harbor's Citizen's Academy and Pinellas County's Citizen's University. She volunteers at the Safety Harbor Neighborhood Family Center, Meals on Wheels, Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History, the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranch and most city events. She is also Safety Harbor's delegate to the Suncoast League of Cities

Pitch to voters: "To continue to be the voice of the residents. As a 30-year resident of Safety Harbor, I have seen many changes. I am dedicated to maintaining the uniqueness of our town by promoting gradual, orderly growth per our comprehensive plan. I feel I can make a difference because I am unbiased and have no political agenda. I have been involved with city business for many years now by attending commission meetings, volunteering at city events and working with other candidates. I have been a very active commissioner since Feb. 3, 2008, when I was sworn in. I attend almost all city and other events I am invited to, therefore, the residents, employees and (nonprofit organizations) know me. My plan is to be their commissioner, their voice.''

Assets Home, two cars, two IRAs
Liabilities None
Net worth Between $700,000 and $900,000
Source of income Pension, city commissioner salary
Personal Lives in Safety Harbor with her husband of 32 years, Alan Williams. Has five stepchilden, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Hobbies include watching NFL football.
Web site None listed
E-mail mlwilliams@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Barbara Ewert, 45

Experience: A seven-year resident of Safety Harbor, Ewert created, owned and managed Galleria 509 in Safety Harbor. Before that, she owned and managed Quantum Financial Resources, a financial strategies consulting and marketing firm and an outpatient physical therapy clinic called the Auto Injury Treatment Center in Tampa. Currently, she is a multi-site rehab manager for PeopleFirst.

Pitch to voters: "My goals as city commissioner are to evaluate projects and issues with fresh initiative, working with others to maintain and expand an even more dynamic and growing community while being mindful of expenses and revenue, and working for our city as the voice of the residents.''

Assets Home, car, savings account
Liabilities Mortgage, credit cards
Net worth Not available
Source of income Job.
Personal Single, no children
Web site www.barbaraewert4safetyharbor.com
E-mail barbara@barbaraewert4safetyharbor.com
Assets Home, car, savings account
Liabilities Mortgage, credit cards
Net worth Not available
Source of income Job.
Personal Single, no children
Web site www.barbaraewert4safetyharbor.com
E-mail barbara@barbaraewert4safetyharbor.com

Safety Harbor City Commission Seat 3

Newcomers Nancy Besore and Glen Caristinos are vying for the seat currently held by Nadine Nickeson, who decided not to run again. It's a three-year term.

Nancy Besore, 52

Experience: Besore, 52, teaches American history and government at Armwood High School in Seffner. Several years ago, she enrolled at Stetson University's College of Law, passed the bar exam and is now a member of the Florida Bar. She holds bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees in history, gerontology and curriculum at the University of South Florida.

Pitch to voters: "You can count on me for honesty, passion for Safety Harbor and attention to your concerns.''

Assets Home, car, bank account
Liabilities Home, car, credit card, student loan
Net worth Less than $20,000
Source of income Job
Personal Single, no children
Web site None listed
E-mail nbesore@tampabay.rr.com
Assets Home, car, bank account
Liabilities Home, car, credit card, student loan
Net worth Less than $20,000
Source of income Job
Personal Single, no children
Web site None listed
E-mail nbesore@tampabay.rr.com

Glen Caristinos, 42

Experience: Caristinos moved to Safety Harbor three years ago and quickly got involved with numerous nonprofit groups in the city. With a partner, he started a pedicab business downtown. He formerly owned a restaurant and bar in Maine. He is now a trustee for the Safety Harbor Regional Museum and is a member of the Downtown Marketing Advisory Committee, the Downtown Business Council, the Chamber of Commerce and the Third Friday Committee.

Pitch to voters: "My overall objective is to foster a city of greatness and camaraderie, one that is healthy both fiscally and environmentally, one that is creative and vibrant while maintaining its charm and tradition, one that not only survives during these tough economic times, but one that thrives by working together.''

Assets Multiple family trusts and business
Liabilities Multiple family trusts and business
Net worth Not available
Source of income Multiple family trusts and business
Personal Single, a child
Web site www.mysafetyharbor.info
E-mail glen@mysafetyharbor.info
Assets Multiple family trusts and business
Liabilities Multiple family trusts and business
Net worth Not available
Source of income Multiple family trusts and business
Personal Single, a child
Web site www.mysafetyharbor.info
E-mail glen@mysafetyharbor.info

Know your Safety Harbor candidates 03/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 5, 2009 7:00am]
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