Anna Maria Commission Chair John Quam dealt a shock to his fellow commissioners and the large gallery of concerned citizens attending the May 23 city meeting at city hall.
Quam circulated a memo just before the meeting, stating he was resigning his seat effective June 1.
While commissioners had a number of issues on the agenda to address, perhaps their biggest consideration became finding someone to serve in Quam’s place, not only as chair, but to fill his seat on the commission.
An 11-year veteran of the commission, Quam said he had promised his wife he would not seek re-election in November and they would move this year to the mainland. The house they wanted became available and they had to act quickly to secure a deal.
“It’s been a privilege and an honor to serve the city of Anna Maria for the past 11 years,” wrote Quam in his resignation letter.
“Thanks to the city staff for their excellent support,” he added.
Quam received a standing ovation from commissioners and the public at the end of the meeting, upon handing the gavel to Commission Vice Chair Chuck Webb.
“Thank you all,” Quam said, noting he began on the commission in 2002 with Webb and, the following year, Commissioner Dale Woodland was first elected.
“I’ve enjoyed every year. Thank you, and it’s time to move forward,” Quam said.
SueLynn said Quam would be missed, especially for his quiet leadership.
“I am sorry to see him leave. He was here when I was first elected mayor in 2002, and still here when I became mayor in 2012. He has been a great help and I’ve enjoyed our discussions about the direction of the city. He and his fellow commissioners accomplished a lot in the past 11 years.”
Woodland, who served with Quam for nearly 10 years, said he was surprised to read the resignation letter.
“He will be missed. He’s done a lot for the community. We didn’t always agree on issues, but he was a great compromiser and his chief concern was the quality of life in Anna Maria. I’ll miss him as a commissioner and friend,” Woodland said.
Before adjournment, SueLynn raised the question of filling Quam’s seat.
The charter calls for the four remaining commissioners to elect a city resident to serve the remainder of Quam’s term, which expires this November.
Webb said the process should be the same as SueLynn’s replacement in November 2012, and commissioners agreed.
Seeking a commissioner
Anyone interested in serving out Quam’s term should submit his or her name and along with the signatures of 10 residents supporting his or her candidacy, a short biography and reasons for seeking the post, Webb said.
The deadline to apply to be a candidate is June 10.
The commission will select a new commissioner as the first item of business at the June 13 meeting.
Already, public works employee and environmental education and enhancement committee chair Bill Malfese has announced he wants to be considered for the seat. Planning and zoning board member Carol Carter also plans to put her name in the hat.
For a candidate to be elected, he or she will need a minimum of three of the four votes on the commission.
The new commissioner will serve until Nov. 5, the next city election.