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Palm Coast Thursday, Mar. 17, 2022 3 months ago

Eight apply for temporary appointment to District 2 Palm Coast City Council seat

The applicants are: Antonio Amaral Jr., Bob Coffman, John Fanelli, Hung Hilton, Carl Jones, Larry Gross, Perry Mitrano and William Schreiber.
by: Jonathan Simmons Senior Editor

Eight people have applied for appointment to the City Council seat vacated by former District 2 City Councilman Victor Barbosa, who resigned on March 1 after he was trespassed from Walmart due to a shoplifting allegation. (The trespass order has since been rescinded.)

The application period for the temporary appointment closed on March 16. The eight include prominent community members, some of whom have served in government or run for elected office in the past. They are: Antonio Amaral Jr., Bob Coffman, John Fanelli, Hung Hilton, Carl Jones, Larry Gross, Perry Mitrano and William Schreiber.

Amaral is a real estate broker and building, pool and roofing contractor who's owned his own business since 2016 and is a lifetime board member of the Flagler Home Builders Association. 

Coffman, a retired American Airlines pilot who also served for 20 years in the National Guard, ran for the District 2 seat in 2020, coming in behind Barbosa but before David Alfin (who's now the city's mayor) and Dennis McDonald. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House seat representing Florida's District 6 in 2018.

Fanelli is Flagler Schools' coordinator of student supports and behavior, and had previously been the principal of Buddy Taylor Middle School and Wadsworth Elementary School. He'd been named Flagler Schools' principal of the year for the 2015-2016 school year while at Wadsworth.

Hilton is an alternate member on the city's Planning and Land Development Regulation Board, a position he will have to resign from if he's chosen for the City Council seat. He's an information technology architect serving as senior principal architect for the insurance software company Majesco. He'd also been among the applicants in 2020 for a temporary appointment to the District 2 City Council seat when it was vacated due to former councilman Jack Howell's resignation. The council opted to select former Mayor Jon Netts for the position.

Jones, a substitute teacher and Air Force veteran, is president of the African American Mentoring Program and director of the Purple Heart Foundation. He ran for School Board in 2018, losing to incumbent Janet McDonald.

Gross is president of Compu Clinic, a computer repair shop on Office Park Drive. The only one of the applicants to answer "yes" to an application question inquiring if applicants had been convicted of a crime, he opened his cover letter with what he called "an explanation regarding my past behavior," saying that he'd had a drug addiction more than 25 year ago that had led to "some poor choices" and a record, but added that he's since turned his life around.

Mitrano was the solid waste director for the city of Bunnell before retiring in 2019, and now runs Diana Minotti Fine Art, Antiques & Collectibles with his wife. He ran for the District 1 East Flagler Mosquito Control District seat in 2020, losing to incumbent Jules Kwiatkowski.

Schrieber, like Hilton, had also applied unsuccessfully in 2020 for the District 2 seat when it was vacated by former councilman Howell. Schrieber taught high school physics and math in St. Johns County and previously worked as a scientist for consulting firms on U.S. military contracts.

The City Council will consider the applications at a special meeting on March 22. The individual selected will serve through November, when the winner of the regular election for the seat will take over. The city has asked that whoever is selected for the temporary appointment not run in the election.

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