Applicants will appear before the council in an open meeting.
Palm Coast will begin taking applications from people who want to fill the City Council District 4 seat that will soon be vacated by Councilman Steven Nobile, who is resigning effective May 16, before the end of his term.
Applications are due at noon on Wednesday, May 23, and the council decided to have applicants screened in an open meeting rather than use a more closed process the city has used in similar situations in the past.
Mayor Milissa Holland emphasized that she would like meetings between council members and applicants to be open to public viewing, potentially in the form of a series of one-on-one meetings between council members and applicants conducted in rooms where the public could watch.
“My only request is… that we keep it open,” Holland said. “This is something that’s going to be representing the people in their community and I do think it should be transparent.”
She said the process had been open after her father, Jim Holland, died partway through his term as a Palm Coast city councilman.
Councilman Bob Cuff agreed with Holland’s suggestion that the process be open, but didn’t see the need for separate one-on-one interviews between candidates and council members. He suggested an open meeting.
The council also agreed not to consider applications from anyone who is running for the seat in the election, fearing that might affect the results and look like favoritism.
There are two registered candidates so far: John E. Tipton IV and Jose Eduardo Branquinho.
The process selected by the council will mean that it should be able to follow the requirement laid out in the city’s charter to fill a vacant seat within 30 days of the vacancy.
That’s a break from the process it used the last time it had an unexpected vacancy, when Councilman Bill McGuire resigned. In that case, because McGuire’s resignation fell two weeks before the city’s primary election in August 2016, the council opted not to solicit applications and make an appointment before the primary. When candidate Bob Cuff got more than 50% of the vote — meaning he’d won the seat without the need to move on to the general election — the council simply seated Cuff early.
But in the case of Nobile’s seat, the primary is too far out for the council to take that approach without breaching the 30-day requirement in the city’s charter. If it appoints someone, per the city charter, the appointment would be formally scheduled to end after the general election, not the primary.
To submit an application and view requirements, go to http://www.palmcoastgov.com/council.
This story has been corrected to reflect that the date applications for the District 4 seat are due is May 23.