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A baker’s dozen worth of people, including two former city commissioners, have applied to fill the seat on the DeLand City Commission left vacant by Jeff Hunter’s suspension.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;p dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;The 13 applicants for the seat are:&lt;/p&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;William Christen&lt;/strong&gt;, a real estate broker and former law-enforcement officer&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Virginia Comella&lt;/strong&gt;, a retired human-resources specialist&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Savannah-Jane Griffin&lt;/strong&gt;, executive director of community engagement and inclusive excellence for Stetson University&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;span data-mce-mark=&quot;1&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Tabatha Grimes&lt;/strong&gt;, a deputy clerk at the Volusia County Clerk of Court’s office&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;David Keith&lt;/strong&gt;, a security shift coordinator at John Knox Village in Orange City&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;David Larrabee&lt;/strong&gt;, community sales director at Atria Senior Living&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Donald Liska&lt;/strong&gt;, manager at Sweet Lics Frozen Treats &amp;amp; More&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Buz Nesbit&lt;/strong&gt;, an agent at Coldwell Banker Premier Properties. Nesbit sought election to Hunter&amp;rsquo;s seat in 2016.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Charles Paiva&lt;/strong&gt;, a physical therapist assistant and clinic manager at Ability Rehabilitation. Paiva served in this seat on the City Commission 2001-2005 and 2007-2016.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Eugene Phillips,&lt;/strong&gt; a recent retiree from the National Weather Service, where he worked as chief architect of a weather-processing system&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Thomas Robertson&lt;/strong&gt;, a registered investment adviser and certified financial planner practitioner.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Mary Swiderski&lt;/strong&gt;, former executive director of the Volusia Council of Governments and Volusia League of Cities. Swiderski served on the City Commission 1999-2003.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Reginald Williams&lt;/strong&gt;, a now-retired longtime Volusia County government employee, where he worked in the planning, community-development and community-services departments.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;/ul&gt; &lt;p dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/p&gt; ” id=”c2f7a5b0-ce36-4783-99e8-901492f59b98″ style-type=”info” title=”The Applicants” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

The city solicited applications for the seat after Florida Gov. Rick Scott suspended City Commissioner Jeff Hunter, who was arrested June 27 and charged with selling or delivering hydrocodone, an opioid painkiller and a Schedule II controlled substance.

Now begins a three-week-long frenzy of discussions, interviews and decisions, as the remaining four commissioners work against a 45-day deadline to fill the seat.

The commission will review the applications and create a shortlist at its Aug. 6 regular meeting.

Commissioners will then interview the candidates at a 6 p.m. special meeting Thursday, Aug. 9, and at a 6 p.m. meeting Monday, Aug. 13, if necessary.

Once the interviews are said and done, the commissioners will select a replacement, to be sworn in at the board’s Aug. 20 regular meeting.

The appointed replacement will serve the term of Hunter’s suspension. If Hunter is permanently removed, the replacement commissioner would serve the remainder of Hunter’s term, which ends in November 2020.

The State Attorney’s Office formally filed the charge that led to Hunter’s suspension June 28, after a monthslong Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.

Hunter said the charge was fabricated by a woman he dated briefly in 2017, in retaliation for Hunter getting the woman’s boyfriend in trouble. Hunter pleaded not guilty to the charge and was released from jail hours after his June 27 arrest, on $25,000 bail.

A pretrial hearing is currently scheduled in Hunter’s case Aug. 10.


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