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POLITICS V. PRIVACY: Naples council member is reconsidering whether to resign

City council member
Posted at 6:39 PM, Dec 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-15 09:41:53-05

NAPLES, Fla — A Naples city council member who said she will resign from her position this week is reevaluating her decision and may choose to not resign, a spokeperson for the city told Fox 4 News. Beth Petrunoff has taken issue with financial disclosure rules that will require her to publicly share more information about her financial standing starting next year.

Petrunoff, a resident of Naples since 2008, secured a seat on the City Council in February of 2022.

This week, Petrunoff declared her intent to resign, attributing it to the impending enforcement of a new Florida rule. State legislation will soon mandate elected officials in towns and cities, including Petrunoff, disclose their financial assets, namely the amounts held in their investment and retirement accounts.

Known as Form 6, this disclosure requirement is already in effect for higher-ranking officials in the state.

Petrunoff expressed her opposition to such disclosures for herself, deeming them "far too intrusive". In a letter penned she explained her decision to resign, stating, "I gave this a great deal of thought, and I am not comfortable with publicly disclosing this level of personal information."

"Not only was it an honor to serve the Naples community, but it also brought me great joy, more knowledge, and new friendships," Petrunoff added.

Some locals we spoke to echoed Petrunoff’s concerns, saying these rules would be more appropriate for individuals at the state and federal levels, rather than local city council members.

"If it's like her personal bank account, then it's kind of her personal business. But how she's using money meant for the city, money meant for small businesses, that's a lot more concerning," said one local who has lived in the city for four years.

However, others expressed to Fox 4 that these rules serve a purpose and allow for increased transparency for public officials.

"I think there is a place for personal privacy, but again, you're running for an elective office, and if that is what the people of the locality had voted on, then that's the law," said one individual who recently purchased a property in the area.

In her initial letter, Petrunoff announced her intention to resign effective December 20th. However, recent reports suggest she may reconsider.

Fox 4 has reached out to the city and left a voicemail requesting further comment.