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Chilmonik to resign school board seat

By Staff | Jun 12, 2010

Lee County School Board Member Robert Chilmonik is stepping down from his seat on June 18 to qualify for the race for the Lee County Board of County Commissioners.
According to election law, Chilmonik has to resign from his school board seat by the 18th, the final day of qualifying, to be able to run for county commission.
Mixed messages about when the seat officially opened put him in the position of having to leave his current seat earlier than he wished.
As an elected official, if Chilmonik had formally declared his candidacy for county commission when the position opened, he would have been able to keep his school board seat until after the county election.
The confusion with the dates stems from misinformation Chilmonik said he received from the Lee County Elections Office.
“Why would I resign for something that isn’t open yet, it doesn’t make any sense,” he said.
Officials with the Elections Office could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.
The next school board meeting is June 22 and by then Chilmonik said he will no longer be on the board, and the responsibility of filling his seat will go to the governor.
John Traube and Arnold Gibbs have announced they are vying for Chilmonik’s seat.
Chilmonik has served on the Lee County School Board for two terms and has often been characterized as a maverick for his outspoken views and his tendency to go against the grain.
He was one of 27 Lee County residents who submitted an application to Gov. Charlie Crist for an appointment to the District 1 commission seat left empty by the passing of Bob Janes.
Chilmonik is among those who have been interviewed by the governor but Crist has not made a decision on the vacant commission seat.
Chilmonik said the decision to leave the school board was difficult.
“It was a very gut-wrenching decision to begin with and this makes it even more difficult now over the circumstances,” he said. “My intention was to serve until November because we are going into the most critical budget season at the school board.”
The school board is made up of five members, also including Chairman Steve Teuber, Vice-Chair Elinor Scricca, Board Member Jane Kuckel and Board Member Jeanne Dozier.
The board has to vote on a balanced budget by July 1.
“With my expertise and knowledge it would have been beneficial for the public, however this happened and we have to do the best we can under the circumstances,” Chilmonik said.