Candidate Statement

Eileen Normile (incumbent)

Eileen grew up in inner-city New York in the Bronx and lived there with her parents until she completed college. “My parents told me I could go to any college I wanted to—as long as I had a scholarship and could get there on the bus.” So that’s what she did, commuting to Fordham University and graduating with a degree in Journalism and Political Science and becoming the first generation in her family to graduate from college.

After graduation she honed her journalism skills in New York City until she and husband, Michael, moved with his job to Hong Kong in 1979. During the four years they lived there Eileen worked as a TV news anchor and reporter for Hong Kong’s English language TV station and as a foreign correspondent for the CBS Radio Network covering Hong Kong, Macau and south China.

When they returned to the U.S. Eileen dedicated herself to raising their two daughters, Madeline and Catherine. When the girls were 8 and 12-years-old Eileen began law school in Newark, N.J. on a part-time basis. “There is nothing part-time about law school or raising children, but somehow we made it work.” She graduated in 1996 and was admitted to the New Jersey bar. Two years later she became a member of the Washington, D.C. bar.

After clerking for a Family Court judge for two years, Eileen joined the Union County Prosecutor’s Office in Elizabeth, N.J. as an Assistant Prosecutor where she specialized in Felony and Domestic Violence cases and eventually ran the Domestic Violence unit.

Eileen and Michael, who had been visiting Sarasota for years, retired in 2008 and chose Sarasota as their new home. Eileen immediately became active in the community. She served on the Board of the Bird Key Homeowners’ Association for 4 years before becoming the President. During her presidency, Bird Key’s 50-year-old governing documents were updated—a process that required over a year of consensus-building among the 500 households on the key and which was ultimately approved by over 70%.

She was a member of the City’s Independent Police Advisory Panel for 3 years before becoming its Chair in 2014. In her first year on the Panel Eileen authored a study of the domestic violence legal environment in Sarasota which led to the hiring of a Victim Advocate at SPD and improvements to the department’s handling of domestic violence cases. In 2014, she led the Panel’s investigation into the Sarasota Police Department’s loss of accreditation. The outcome resulted in the hiring of a full-time Accreditation Manager for SPD. The Panel also researched the impact of a proposed Come-As-You-Are Shelter in the City of Sarasota. “The Police Advisory Panel is a hard-working, effective, results-driven group. It was an honor to be a member from its inception.”

In November, 2014, Eileen was appointed to the Sarasota City Commission out of a field of 10 applicants based on the concrete results of her significant community involvement. She looks forward to continued service to the city she loves.