Dr. Scott Crater resigns from Sanibel council amid Form 6 requirement; Petrunoff reverses on resignation

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Another council member has resigned over the new financial disclosure form. Meanwhile, a council member from Naples is speaking on her decision to backpedal from her resignation.

The City of Sanibel said Tuesday that councilman Dr. Scott Crater is vacating his seat.

Like many council members, it’s because of a new state-mandated financial disclosure form. Crater is just another name on the list of resignations.

Naples City Councilwoman Beth Petrunoff considered resigning from her seat, effective December 20, 2023, but here we are, starting off 2024, and she’s still a member of Naples City Council.

“I just want to stay on. I really enjoy this position,” Petrunoff said. “I’ve been working nonstop over the whole this past like three weeks, trying to dig my way to find a way to stay, and I think I found a way.”

Petrunoff planned to leave because of Form 6, a new state law that requires elected local officials to disclose their personal finances, their net worth and their assets: anything over a thousand dollars.

“I thought, boy, this sure is an invasion,” she said.

But after some long thinking, she said she came to a realization.

“I feel like I’m letting myself down by not completing it, and [because] I’m working a lot of projects, letting our residents down,” she said.

Petrunoff met with financial advisors and now feels there is a way to maintain some level of privacy while still abiding by the law.

“You can move things to your spouse because you don’t have to declare what you own, so if you’re comfortable with moving things to your spouse, you might want to do that, those assets,” Petrunoff said.

Councilmen Ted Blankenship and Ray Christman said lack of privacy is not a concern of theirs, but they’re pleased Petrunoff plans to stay.

“Most of all, the people of the city voted for her to serve a four-year term, and I’m glad that she’s willing to fill that out and complete her four years,” Blankenship said.

“They want to have this information available as a matter of public record, and it’s hard to argue against that, so I, and nobody, holds a gun to your head and says you have to run for elected office, right?” Christman said.

Petrunoff said she still feels uncomfortable with the new law despite her staying on the council.

The form is not new. Officials who hold higher offices like state lawmakers, county commissioners, and the sheriff, already make their finances public.

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