110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
City manager reports he has taken a job out of town
posted Jul 15, 2014 - 12:34:29pm
UPDATE, JULY 16: DeLand City Commissioner Phil Martin did not turn in his official resignation July 16, City Clerk Julie Hennessy confirmed this morning. There will be no election to replace him, and instead a new commissioner will be appointed to his seat if and when he resigns.
City Manager Michael Pleus announced at a budget workshop July 14 that Martin has taken a job out of town, and expects to have to resign his seat because he will not be living in DeLand.
REPORTED EARLIER: Just as DeLand voters are getting ready to go to the polls to fill three seats on the City Commission, it appears there may be a fourth vacancy.
City Manager Michael Pleus announced at a budget workshop July 14 that City Commissioner Phil Martin has taken a job in another town, and will likely have to resign.
DeLand’s charter requires city commissioners to be electors in the city; to be an elector, a resident must live inside city limits.
Martin could not be reached for comment.
The exact timing of Martin’s official resignation, if tendered, will determine whether a commissioner will be appointed to replace him, or whether the replacement will be put in office by voters in a special election.
The DeLand city charter states that if 28 months or more are left on the term of a commissioner who resigns, a special election is to be held. If less than 28 months remains, a majority of the remaining commissioners are to appoint a replacement.
Martin’s four-year term would be up Nov. 15, 2016, so today — July 15, 2014 — is the final day that his resignation would trigger a special election.
DeLand City Attorney Darren Elkind said, after a review of the charter, he has advised the city that Martin can submit his official resignation to City Clerk Julie Hennessy via email, and that if it is received today, an election will be planned.
Martin was the owner and operator of the Mainstreet Grill restaurant until he and Chantell Martin divorced in February and she took over the Downtown DeLand eatery.
City Manager Pleus said he reached Martin late in the evening July 14, and let him know the details about the timing of his resignation.
“It’s up to Phil what he wants to do now,” Pleus said.
The city manager said he confirmed Martin does still officially reside in DeLand, so he is qualified to remain on the City Commission if he chooses.
He may also choose to resign early, to give voters the opportunity to replace him.
If DeLand is going to have a special election, attorney Elkind said, it could not be simultaneous with the city election already planned for Tuesday, Aug. 26, but would have to be held later.
Elkind said general-election and runoff dates could probably be scheduled before the end of the year, or in January 2015 at the latest.
If there is an appointment, Elkind said, the charter doesn't spell out a specific procedure for appointing a new commissioner. Any candidates for appointment would have to meet the same qualifications — of city residency and being an elector — that would be required of a candidate for election.
Both Deltona and DeBary recently had to appoint city officials to replace elected officials who resigned. In Deltona's case, a commissioner moved out of his district after selling his house. DeBary had to appoint a council member after Mayor Bob Garcia had to resign because he is running for state office.
In both of those cities, applications were sought from residents interested in serving, and a choice was made from among the applicants.
In DeLand, the question might be whether an appointment would be made by the current City Commission, or after the election by a newly formed City Commission.
Three DeLand City Commission seats are up for a vote Aug. 26: Incumbent Mayor Bob Apgar faces a challenge from DeLand business owner Pat Johnson; the Seat 3 race is between Krystal Brown and Jessica Davis, after incumbent Vonzelle Johnson decided not to run for re-election; and in Seat 5, incumbent City Commissioner Leigh Matusick faces a challenge from former city commissioner and Downtown DeLand business owner Scott Price.
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