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DeBary is getting its first female mayor.

Karen Chasez is now mayor-elect of the River City, because of her opponent’s abrupt withdrawal from the race. Chasez said she learned of her opponent’s sudden exit from the mayoral campaign Monday afternoon, July 30.

How does she feel about her untimely advancement to the elected office?

“I was at Rotary this morning, and I was speaking as mayor, so it’s beginning to sink in,” Chasez told The Beacon.

Her quest to become mayor of DeBary was her first venture as a candidate, she said.

“She wins by default,” DeBary City Clerk Warren Graham said, in the wake of Louis Sweet’s decision to end his candidacy for mayor. “She takes office Jan. 1.”

Sweet turned in a one-sentence note of departure from the election Monday, July 30, Graham added.

“He said he wanted to spend more time with his family,” Graham said, regarding Sweet’s visit to City Hall to formally withdraw. Sweet could not be reached for comment.

“He raised about $600 and spent about $400. Some of that was loans for himself. He has 90 days to clear out the account,” Graham replied, when asked about Sweet’s campaign finances.

Chasez is already looking forward to going to work as mayor. For her part, she is doing some post-election work.

“I am picking up my signs in the spirit of the five-day requirement,” she said, when contacted by The Beacon.

Although the race for DeBary mayor is over and the names of the contenders will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, after all, Chasez said she will keep some prior commitments related to the campaign.

“I am going to be at the Hob Nob in Deltona Aug. 2. I do have a table paid for there,” she noted, regarding the event planned at The Center at Deltona, and adding she wishes to meet and talk with anyone desiring to get acquainted with her. “I am also going to be at the Hob Nob at the old courthouse in DeLand. I already have a table reserved for Aug. 14.”
As mayor of DeBary, Chasez will preside over the City Council’s meetings and take part in official ceremonial activities, as well as signing documents. The mayor is a voting member of the five-person elected body.

Under DeBary’s charter, the mayor has no administrative or executive power, as the city manager is the chief executive officer of the city. The mayor receives a salary of $500 a month. Each of the other four council members receives $400 monthly.

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