For the first time in memory, no one is running for mayor of Anna Maria in the upcoming November election, leaving the city with a conflict for who will fill the mayor’s seat — and how.
In fact, there won’t be much of a municipal election in Anna Maria Nov. 6, as only incumbent Chuck Webb and Nancy Yetter qualified for the two commission seats up for election. With no opposition, the two candidates automatically win a commission seat, according to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office.
Since there is no candidate for mayor, attention turns to the city charter for answers, and this is where the conflicts begin, said deputy city clerk Diane Percycoe.
Percycoe said she spent a number of hours reviewing the charter with city attorney Jim Dye after learning there would be no mayoral candidate. There are a number of issues still to be resolved, although the procedure to elect a mayor is clear, she said.
It’s what happens after a mayor is elected that is causing some issues, Percycoe observed.
The city charter states that after the new commissioners are sworn in, the five commissioners elect a chair. In the absence of a duly-elected mayor, the chair automatically becomes interim mayor until the next general election — one year. A vice chair also is elected.
The four remaining commissioners then nominate and appoint a qualified city resident to fill the commission seat vacated by the chair for one year. The vice chair becomes the commission chair and the commission must then elect another vice chair. The new commission chair becomes vice mayor of the city.
Here’s where it becomes confusing, Percycoe said.
Commissioners are elected for two years. If either Yetter or Webb are elected chair and become mayor, do they return to the commission to serve the remainder of their term — one year — after a mayor is elected in November 2013?
As the mayor is supposed to serve a two-year term, how long does the mayor elected in 2013 serve?
And what happens to the person appointed by the commission to fill the vacancy for one year left by the new chair? It could result in four commission seats on the 2013 ballot.
The charter — the virtual bible for the city — requires election of a mayor and two commissioners in even-numbered years, which would be 2014. It also requires an election for three commission seats in odd-numbered years.
Percycoe said she had no solutions at this time for any of the potential issues.
“There are a number of questions involved here that staff and the city attorney are reviewing,” Percycoe said.
The situation will be addressed by Dye and commissioners at the June 14 commission meeting, she said.
Percycoe noted it’s the first time she can remember not having a candidate for mayor, but she has not yet checked city records, which date back to 1923, as they are in storage.
Long-time city resident and planning and zoning board member Tom Turner, who first came to the city more than 40 years ago, also said it’s the first time he recalls the city lacking a candidate for the mayor’s post.
“And I’ve been around a long time,” Turner said.
Although there will be no municipal balloting, the county, state and national elections will be held Nov. 6 at Roser Memorial Community Church.
Webb and Yetter will be elected to two-year terms at a salary of $400 per month. Anna Maria’s mayor — when one is elected or appointed — receives a stipend of $800 per month.