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Island city elections underway

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

Qualifying for candidates in the November elections for Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach city offices ends at noon Friday, Aug. 30.

Holmes Beach is unique to the other two island cities, as its charter requires qualifying be performed by the city clerk’s office prior to submittal to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office.

According to city clerk Stacey Johnston, it was difficult to say how the commission race would shape up.

Candidates in the other cities can submit declaration paperwork directly to the county in advance of the qualification period, at which time potential candidates are listed on the election website. That’s not the case in Holmes Beach, where candidates cannot declare with the county until qualified by the city.

However, qualifying began Aug. 26 and the Holmes Beach race will soon become clear enough.

Johnston cautions election hopefuls not to procrastinate. “The paperwork has to come to me for qualifying, but I can’t qualify a candidate until the signatures on the petition have been verified by the county” as registered voters, she said. “I send that to the county, but I would advise that anyone running for commissioner to get their packets to me as soon as possible.”

Commissioners Jean Peelen, Pat Morton and David Zaccagnino are up for re-election and all three have told The Islander they intend to defend their incumbency.

While the trio has no official challengers as of press time, Johnston said former Commissioner John Monetti picked up an election packet.

Also, two people expressing an interest in the city’s charter review committee also have expressed interest in running for commissioner, according to Johnston, who said they can’t do both.

Carol Soustek and Jim Plath picked up election packets with the intention of running for the charter review committee, but both indicated a commission run is possible.

In Holmes Beach, election winners are determined on the highest number of overall votes. There are three commission seats up for election, so the top three vote recipients will be declared the winners.

Pam Lecke joins Soustek and Plath in picking up packets with the intention clearly focused on the charter review committee.

Johnston said the city holds an election for the committee every five years, but has had problems filling the required five seats.

Thus far, three people have expressed interest and two of them are considering other options.

“The charter requires a five-member committee,” said Johnston.

Under prior administrations and before Johnston’s tenure as city clerk, commissioners selected committee members if an election didn’t produce five members, but Johnston said there is nothing in the charter to define the procedure.

“The charter doesn’t say we can’t select members for empty seats, but it doesn’t say we can either,” she said.

Past charter review committees have not had much success in producing changes in the charter. Johnston said the process for a charter change is for a super-majority vote from committee members to make a recommendation to the city commission.

If the commission approves the proposed change, it then goes on the following November’s general election ballot. The last time a suggested change made it through the commission was in 2000, when it was recommended to change the mayoral term to four years.

Johnston said at that time the city was looking to change to a city manager style of government. The recommendation made it past the commission, but failed in the next year’s election.

Johnston said she would need to seek legal advice from city attorney Patricia Petruff should this year’s election fail to produce five charter committee members.

Holmes Beach elected officials do not have term limits.

Those interested in running for city commission or the charter review committee must present all of the necessary documents to Johnston at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive, before noon Aug. 30.

 

Bradenton Beach

    Bradenton Beach commission elections are decided by wards and there are four wards in the city.

Commissioner Ric Gatehouse, who was appointed to the dais in early 2012 when no one ran to fill the seat of former Ward 3 Commissioner Janie Robertson in November 2011, declared his candidacy and is expected to qualify through the election office this week.

Robertson also has declared she will seek the seat and is expected to qualify.

Mayor John Shaughnessy, who termed out of his commission seat after six years in 2009 and then successfully ran for mayor in 2011, also is up for re-election. Shaughnessy has declared his candidacy and faces a challenge from former Commissioner Bill Shearon.

Commissioner Gay Breuler’s term is expiring and she will not seek another term for her Ward 1 seat.

John V. “Jack” Clarke filed declaration papers with the county Aug. 8 for Ward 1.

Clarke said Aug. 22 that he would go into depth about his political goals once he qualifies to run for the seat.

In the meantime, Clarke said he and his wife discovered Anna Maria Island in the 1990s and realized Bradenton Beach “was the gem of the island” when it came time to relocate.

He refers to the city as “unpretentious and genuine.”

In his declaratory statement, Clarke wrote, “It is now time for me to step up and give back to maintain the appeal of Bradenton Beach. I will represent the interests of my Ward 1 constituents and work to build on the successes of all the previous commissions.”

Clarke has been a resident of the city for 10 years and a homeowner since 2006.

In closing, Clarke said, “I am dedicated to keeping the city on track going forward, while retaining its inherent charm and atmosphere.”

Those interested in running for Bradenton Beach mayor or commissioner must have their paperwork submitted by noon Aug. 30 to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Suite 108, Bradenton.

 

Anna Maria

One candidate — incumbent Dale Woodland — had qualified to run in the Nov. 5 commission election in Anna Maria, as of Aug. 23.

The deadline to qualify is Aug. 30 for the election that will decide three commission seats.

Woodland is seeking his sixth term in office

Other potential commission candidates have picked up qualifying forms at Anna Maria City Hall, city clerk Alice Baird said.

She said incumbent Gene Aubry — appointed to fill the commission vacancy last year after Commissioner SueLynn stepped into the mayor’s seat — and planning and zoning board member Carol Carter picked up packets.

Incumbent Doug Copeland has not publicly announced if he will seek an elected term on the commission. Copeland was appointed to the commission in June after Commissioner John Quam resigned in May.

Anna Maria commissioners are elected to two-year terms and earn $400 a month.

Qualifying packets may be obtained at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive, or at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, 600 301 Blvd. W., No. 108, Bradenton.

 

The process

According to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, prospective candidates may state their intention at any time, but they are not considered a “declared” candidate until they register a treasurer and open a campaign bank account.

SOE office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Suite 108, Bradenton, said candidate qualifying packets have been delivered to the island cities.

A prospective candidate must first file a form to appoint a campaign treasurer and designate a campaign depository — a bank account — with the SOE before contributions can be accepted or funds are spent.

The candidate then must file a statement of candidate form within 10 days of filing the treasurer and bank designation forms.

Candidates were able to file early by obtaining a qualifying packet at the SOE office.

Candidate qualifying in the three island cities officially began with Anna Maria on Aug. 19. Qualifying for Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach begins Aug. 26. All three cities wrap up at noon Aug. 30. The city elections are non-partisan and all seats are for two-year terms.

In Anna Maria, a candidate must be a citizen of the United States, a registered voter in Manatee County and a resident of the city for two years prior to qualifying. The candidate must file a loyalty oath, oath of candidate, a statement of financial interests and a residency affidavit for both the candidate and his/her treasurer.

The candidate must pay from its bank treasury fund a qualifying fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary for the office sought — $96 for mayor, $48 for commission seat — and obtain 10 petition signatures of voters residing in the city.

In Bradenton Beach, a candidate must be a citizen of the United States, a registered voter in Manatee County in the ward for which he/she qualifies and a resident of the city for nine months prior to qualifying. The candidate must file a loyalty oath, oath of candidate, a statement of financial interests and a residency affidavit, as well as 10 resident affidavits attesting to the candidate’s residency.

The candidate must pay a qualifying fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary for the office sought — $96 for mayor, $48 for commission seat — and obtain 10 petition signatures of voters residing in the city.

In Holmes Beach, a candidate must be a citizen of the United States, a registered voter in Manatee County and a resident of the city for two years prior to qualifying. The candidate must file a loyalty oath, oath of candidate, a statement of financial interests and a residency affidavit.

The candidate must pay a qualifying fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary for the office sought —$60 for a commission seat and $120 for mayor, although the mayor’s seat does not expire until 2014 — and obtain 15 petition signatures of voters residing in the city.

Candidates in all three cites can opt to file an undue burden oath, which eliminates the election assessment fee if all other requirements are met.

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