Marco Island City Council appoints Babrowski as councilor following Rios' resignation

Claire Babrowski is sworn in as the newest city councilor during a Marco Island City Council meeting in the community room on Monday, December 7, 2020. The seat was left vacant on the seven-member council after the resignation of Victor Rios.

Marco Island City Council selected Claire Babrowski as councilor on Monday following the resignation of Victor Rios, making whole the seven-member body.

The other six council members are Chairman Jared Grifoni, Vice Chairman Greg Folley, and councilors Erik Brechnitz, Becky Irwin, Joseph Rola and Richard Blonna.

Council members voted using ballots rather than using a voice vote, and there was no announcement Monday of who voted for whom after three finalists spoke at the podium.

The Marco Eagle requested copies of the ballots and received them Tuesday. They show Grifoni, Folley, Brechnitz, Irwin and Blonna voted for Babrowski, and Rola voted for Rivera.

The finalists who were not selected are Nanette A. Rivera and Elizabeth E. Stephenson.

"I share your love of and commitment to Marco Island," Babrowski said. "I hope that I can be some kind of integral part in continuing to advance the bright future of this island."

Councilor Claire Babrowski takes her seat on the dais for the first time after being sworn in during a Marco Island City Council meeting in the community room on Monday, December 7, 2020.

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Babrowski was until now a member of the city's planning board, leading the discussion on topics like the city's comprehensive plan, a document that includes the principles and guidelines for the economic, social, physical, environmental and fiscal development of the city. The plan, required by state law, is updated every 10 years.

She wrote in her application that she has served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Toys 'R' Us and in other leadership roles at Radio Shack and McDonald's. She has a master's degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina.

Babrowski said her main focus will continue to be the city's comprehensive plan and its implications for the local infrastructure and land use.

On Nov. 19, the council selected three finalists to fill Rios' seat. During the next two weeks councilors met individually and privately with each candidate.

City Council received 10 applications for the position. The other seven applicants who were not selected are David J. Knoth, Duane Thomas, Milind Limaye, Brad Brenner, Maria C. Tobin, David J. Romano and Donald P. Dinella. 

The city charter required City Council to appoint a person to fill Rios' vacancy because the remainder of his unexpired term was less than 28 months. Council had to complete this process within 60 days of his resignation.

Rios resigned effective Oct. 30 for personal reasons.

The next scheduled City Council meeting is at 5:30 p.m., Jan. 4.

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