There’s an opening on the Islamorada dais following the recent resignation of Cheryl Meads. Interested village residents now have the opportunity to serve the rest of her term through the end of the year.
Per village charter, council has just 30 days to appoint a qualified resident to fill the seat from which Meads resigned on Jan. 6. Meads said she made the decision so she could invest her full time and energy into the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, of which she’s an at-large member.
During a discussion at the Jan. 9 meeting, Mayor Mike Forster and council agreed that interested candidates must submit letters of intent to the village by end of day on Thursday, Jan. 16. Forster said council will vet the candidates and vote to appoint a new council member at the meeting Thursday, Jan. 23 at Founders Park Community Center.
“This isn’t the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last,” Forster said regarding the vacancy. “We will get through this and the village will continue forward.”
Village Manager Seth Lawless took a moment to read a letter by Vice Mayor Ken Davis, who was absent to attend training for elected officials. In his letter, Davis said the recent resignation of Meads, which has created an opening, should be cautiously approached by council. Davis and other council members say they’ve received calls from interested individuals who’ve inquired about the opening.
“It’s a matter the community’s watching closely, and it should be handled in an apolitical manner,” Davis said. “While many may be qualified for the post, it’s only temporary, and we should proceed with caution, not to indicate we are anointing anyone. We also owe it to our constituents in our community to provide the best qualified person.”
Davis said he’s contacted former mayor and council member Chris Sante to see if he’d be interested in returning to the dais. If selected, Davis said, Sante would agree to return just for the year.
“Sante’s a proven leader elected many times to serve on council. He’s removed himself from the political arena and has no future political aspirations,” Davis wrote in his letter. “The village wouldn’t lose a single step moving forward.”
Sante confirmed his interest and told the Weekly he sent his letter to the village on Tuesday morning. According to the village, others submitting interest are David Webb, Pete Bacheler, Larry Zettwoch, Bill Todd, Mark Gregg, Jill Zima Borski, Don Horton and George Geisler.
Forster said following the letter’s reading that it’s “the valued opinion of one council member.” Councilman Jim Mooney said he’s received a number of inquiries.
“I can give you my phone and get a list. There’s a lot,” he said.
To be eligible, a person must be a registered voter in the State of Florida and a resident of the village. People interested in being considered for the village council seat are asked to submit a letter of interest to include why they are interested and how they are qualified to serve on the dais.
A letter of interest can be submitted to Village Clerk Kelly Toth at [email protected] by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16. Letters may also be hand-delivered to the third floor of the Administrative Center at 86800 Overseas Highway.
As for the election in November, Gregg filed on Jan. 7 to run for the seat.