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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Commissioner-elect Kibbe steps down

— One week after she spoke out against Saint Leo University’s controversial west campus plan, Commissioner-elect Anne Kibbe decided not to take her seat on the city commission. She also resigned from her job at the university.

Kibbe, who ran unopposed for the commission seat, was to have been sworn in Wednesday night. She did not attend the commission meeting, instead sending a letter saying she was resigning for personal reasons.

Kibbe was the university’s director of professional development and reported directly to Vice President Frank Mezzanini, who oversees all construction on campus — including a proposed move of the plant operations building to land the university bought from the Benedictine Sisters two years ago at Pompanic Street and McMullen Drive.

Kibbe issued a scathing critique of the plan during a May 14 workshop the university hosted at its student center. “It’s going to be a disaster,” she said.

Like most others in attendance, Kibbe objected to the plan to use Pompanic — a residential street that borders both towns — as the access point for truck traffic to the west campus.

“The efforts and the reactions of the university in response to the reactions of the community has been to redesign and to make it more palatable, to make it more attractive,” she said, “and that certainly is admirable. And we all appreciate that.”

She accused university leaders of ignoring Saint Leo’s core values of respect, good stewardship and community and urged them to reconsider.

“When there is so much opposition to opening up a driveway onto a road that is clearly — I mean, anyone with or without a traffic engineering degree can see that the road is inadequate for large or heavy traffic,” she said. “It just isn’t. I walk my dog down there — there’s not room. We have to get way off the road when a car comes because there’s not room for two cars to pass, let alone two trucks.”

In the days following the workshop, Kibbe met privately with University President Arthur Kirk. She denied rumors that she had been fired, and the university declined to comment.

“The decision was mine,” she told the Tribune. “We’re parting ways on very good terms.”

Kibbe wouldn’t comment on the operations plant location or whether it factored into her decision not to take her seat on the commission.

“My reason for stepping down from the commission seat was personal,” she said. “My father is turning 80, and I’m planning on traveling with him this summer. I hope to be in a better position to serve on the city commission in the future, but now is not the right time.”

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