Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis (l) recently presented Vice-Mayor Dan Saracki with a certificate he earned for completing a local-government training program hosted by the Florida League of Cities.
Oldsmar Vice Mayor Dan Saracki was recently recognized for his commitment to local government after he completed a high-level training course run by the Florida League of Cities in December.
During the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis presented Saracki with a framed copy of the certificate commemorating him for being one of just 20 local lawmakers in the state to complete the IEMO (Institute for Elected Municipal Officials) IV Municipal Leadership training program.
Dan Saracki holds the City Spirit Award given to Oldsmar by the Florida League of Cities in July 2017 (Credit: Facebook)
Saracki, whose work on Oldsmar’s yearlong centennial celebration in 2016 helped the city earn another award from the FLC last summer, said the intense, two-day training course featured a personality test, a question and answer session and a ton of information about running local municipalities in the state of Florida.
“I remember I was driving home from Orlando and I thought my head was gonna explode!” he said.
“There was just so much knowledge of these 20 people from around the state for the inaugural class of IEMO IV. I learned so much.”
Prior to presenting him with the certificate, the mayor spoke about spotting Saracki’s passion for local government early on.
“I remember from the first time we talked about you getting involved in council, you wanted to know about the city, and then once you were elected to city council, you wanted to know more about how the government and how they worked,” Bevis said.
Saracki later elaborated on the origins of his love of public service, which he traced back to his family tree.
An old newspaper clipping from Buffalo, NY shows Oldsmar Vice Mayor Dan Saracki’s uncle, Stanley Spisiak, with Sen. Robert F. Kennedy as Spisiak spoke about pollution in the waters surrounding his city in September 1965.
“I remember when I was eight years old, and my father, Daniel Saracki, Sr. and my grandfather, Valentine Spisiak, took my brother, Larry, and I to visit my Great-Uncle Stanley Spisiak,” Saracki said recently via email.
“It was the day before President Johnson visited Buffalo, NY to take a boat ride and inspect the polluted waters of the Buffalo River and Lake Erie. My father and grandfather were proud of Uncle Stanley’s determination to stop the dumping of industrial waste and sewage into the water.”
Dan Saracki and his wife, Paula, in 2016.
Saracki explained that although Spisiak never went into politics, and he didn’t learn about his efforts to clean up the local waters until later in life, his Uncle Stanley’s bravery and determination to fight for what he believed in instilled a desire to make a difference in his community.
“It is clear from where in my family I inherited the gift to help bring people together, ensure success in our neighborhoods, and never think twice about helping others be successful,” he wrote.
“I share his same values in my political views – spend tax dollars wisely, keep costs down, protect future generations, and attack problems head-on that must be addressed to save a community or a family.”
As he accepted the certificate from the mayor, Saracki choked up a bit while expressing his love for serving his community.
“Each one of us works together to make this city successful,” he said to his fellow lawmakers and city officials.
“We are blessed to have this team here, and I’m just honored that I live in such a cool city. Really, really thankful.”