City Attorney Shawn Smith is drawing up the legal proceedings to establish a process for nomination and appointment to fill Key West’s District III City Commission seat.
The person selected will sit for six scheduled meetings until the expiration of the term. The move comes after the announcement of Commissioner Dan Kohlage, who is leaving to pursue business opportunities in North Carolina.
And the result of two concerns.
1.) A tie vote
2.) The ‘temporary’ commissioner will throw their hat in the ring to secure the seat during the general election.
The Key West Weekly was in Old City Hall, and this is how the process is unfolding.
“I’m movin to North Carolina, and my new position won’t allow me the opportunity to travel back and forth,” says Commissioner Kohlage, who’s official last day is July 3.
His exit will shift the dynamics of the commission to a six-member body; which ultimately could result in a 3-3, or tie vote.
With budget season looming and the approval necessary to tend to city business accordingly, some commissioners want the seat filled – temporarily.
Commissioner Kohlage offered a man to fill his seat at Tuesday night’s meeting. Former City Commissioner Joe Pace, “I simply am trying to find someone who doesn’t have a huge learning curve.”
Plus, as Kohlage emphasized, Pace has stated he does not have any chance throwing his hat into the ring come election time. A possibility all commissioners and potential candidates fear would put the ‘temp’ at a serious advantage.
On board with the replacement, Commissioner Clayton Lopez, “I commend you on that recommendation. I can think of no one better. Joe Pace served honorably as a commissioner.”
The possibility also struck the fancy of Mayor Morgan McPherson, “The last thing I want is to sit without a seventh commissioner. So many times we’ve come to a 3-3 vote, and we need that extra vote.”
Commissioner Barry Gibson in favor because of the obvious: there isn’t a learning curve for Pace, but Commissioner Gibson says he is wildly concerned about the mere possibility Pace would run for office.
“The election is 110 days away. I’m more concerned with any replacement’s intention,” stated Gibson.
Commissioner Mark Rossi noted with the election so close, he wants to see the seat left open, and, with Commissioner Bill Verge absent from this meeting, he says out of respect for Commissioner Verge there is more input to be considered.
“I think Joe Pace is a good choice, but I think there might be other potential candidates in the district who would like be considered.”
“There’s nothing Joe can sign to say he can’t run for office, “Noted Teri Johnston. “I think that’s a loophole.”
Serve your city! F/T position now available with the City of Key West. Duties include setting policy, attending meetings, and cutting ribbons. Experience a plus, but not necessary. Letters of Interest and Intention accepted by the City Commission or at the Key West City Hall.
Commissioner Dan Kohlage resigns July 3. City Attorney Shawn Smith is drawing up the legal papers for any District III resident to submit a letter of interest to temporarily fill his seat, and announce their future political intentions regarding the seat.