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Anna Maria election vacancy comes post-election, Nov. 15

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

While Holmes Beach will elect two commissioners and a mayor on Nov. 6, Anna Maria must wait until the commission’s Nov. 15 organizational meeting to decide the next mayor and then appoint an interim commission member from the electorate.

It’s all because no one qualified to run for mayor and Mayor Mike Selby decided not to seek a second term.

On Nov. 15, a commission chair must be elected from among the commissioners to become mayor, then a citizen selected by the four remaining commissioners to fill the newly vacated commission seat.

Only two commission seats are up for election Nov. 6 and only two candidates — incumbent Chuck Webb and Nancy Yetter — qualified to fill them.

According to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, the two are automatically voted into office.

The city’s 1,313 registered voters, as of Oct. 15, can still vote on candidates for county, state and federal offices — but not for mayor of Anna Maria.

With no candidate, the election of a new mayor is in the hands of the city charter, which calls for an organizational meeting to swear in new commissioners, which is scheduled for Nov. 15.

The charter states that the five commissioners then elect one of their members to be commission chair, who automatically becomes vice mayor. The charter further states that in the absence of the mayor, the commission chair — vice mayor — automatically assumes the position and duties of mayor.

A problem with that, according to Commissioner Dale Woodland, is that the mayor has no vote on the commission.

“I don’t want to give up my vote,” he said, a sentiment echoed by Commissioner John Quam.

Webb has said he is too busy with his law practice to devote the time needed to be mayor.

That leaves Commissioner SueLynn, who was mayor of Anna Maria from 2002-06, and Yetter to become mayor.

SueLynn has indicated she is not enthusiastic about the possibility of becoming mayor, but it seems as if there is “no one else” to do the job.

Yetter has said she does not believe she has the administrative experience to be mayor. In addition, she must devote a lot of time to family affairs in Tampa.

 

Appointment of vacant commission seat

But Anna Maria commissioners have a double quandary.

As noted, one member must be elected commission chair and thus become the mayor. That leaves a vacancy on the commission that must be filled from the electorate by the four remaining commissioners.

Commissioners have asked registered voters in the city who are both interested and qualified to become a commissioner to fill out an appointment form at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Commissioners also have asked that the applicants attend the Nov. 15 meeting for interviews.

As of press deadline Monday, Oct. 29, four people had applied and a fifth member of the electorate indicated interest in the vacant seat: former Commissioner Gene Aubry, former Commissioner Tom Aposporos, committee member Carl Pearman and businesswoman Sandy Rich applied. A fifth potential candidate, Billy Malfese, a member of the city public works staff and chair of the environmental education and enhancement committee took out a form but has not yet returned it.

Commissioners have agreed that whoever is appointed to the commission vacancy must be nominated and seconded by someone, either a commissioner or from the audience. Additionally, the successful applicant must receive at least three of the four commission votes.

Following appointment of a commissioner to fill the vacant seat and the swearing-in of the new commissioner, the five-member commission must again go through the process of electing a commission chair and deputy chair.

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