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Jennings resigned, leaving one council seat vacant

By Staff | Nov 8, 2017

To fill the vacancy of the fifth City Council seat, which became empty Oct. 18 when Councilman Jim Jennings put in his resignation, the city is currently accepting applications.

Jennings term would have ended March 18, 2019.

The partial term will expire April 2, 2018. Those interested in applying must be a resident and must be an elector of the City of Sanibel. Deadline for submission is Tuesday, Nov. 21, at noon. The application can be found at mysanibel.granicus.com/boards/w/91564252d9e8de56.

Any questions, contact pamela.smith@mysanibel.com.

Councilman Jason Maughan thanked Jennings for his cheerful, lengthy 14 years of service during the invocation, as well as blessing he and his wife as they move forward with their new adventures.

Councilman Chauncey Goss also made a comment early on in the meeting.

“I want to thank Jim Jennings publicly for his services on Sanibel. He’s been a tremendous person to work with and I am going to miss working with him,” he said.

According to the charter, “the council, by majority vote of the remaining members, shall choose an successor to serve until the newly elected council member is qualified.”

“We shall appoint someone, so our process is to ask people to apply,” Mayor Kevin Ruane said. “I think our process, if we want to be consistent, is we have someone fill out an application and consider it at our December meeting.”

Ruane said the individual has to receive a majority vote, three council members saying yes, to fill the vacant seat.

“If we don’t come to a majority, we don’t appoint,” he said.

Maughan asked people to apply if they genuinely want to serve and they anticipate wanting to move forward.

“My own preference is whoever that individual is, I would like you to be here for the election of March 2018. I hope, and would expect that you would run again in March 18. I would like you to run in March 19. So, we are asking you to run for two elections,” Ruane said. “If we could find someone that doesn’t just want to be a seat holder. I will not appoint someone who just wants to sit for three, or four months and be done with it. I would like someone to be here long term.”

Ruane said the city will have a special election on March 20, 2018.

“Whoever wants to run for that office has a right to. The Supervisor of Elections, to make it easier from an efficiency point of view, asked us to have it go to March 20 because of other municipality elections,” he said.

Ruane said he has walked in both shoes, since he was appointed.

“I was supposed to be here for 60 days. It’s been 11 years,” Ruane said. “In my eyes I am looking for someone to be here for the long term. It is really not fair in my opinion to have someone come in here for three months. It’s a tremendous task to understand this job. It’s a tremendous task to understand what our citizenry wants and likes. Just because you are from one particular group, and you can pick any group on this island, they are all important, but that’s not inclusive of the entire island.”

Sanibel resident Karen Storjohann said the city just had an election with four candidates running for three seats.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot of people are pounding down the door to take these positions. I think we need to be careful not to preclude having candidates, people that are willing to sit and shut the door on them when no one else is willing to come forward to do the job,” she said. “I think it will be interesting to find out just exactly what the interest is out there. You might want to put it out both ways. Ask people to come forward if they are interested in the job on a permanent basis and on an interim basis and see what kind of response you get.”