Howard Schieferdecker took the oath Tuesday to become the new Maitland mayor. That leaves City Council short one member.
On Monday, Jan. 10, City Council is scheduled to appoint someone to Schieferdecker’s former seat on the dais until March 8, when an election installs someone to serve out the remaining two years of the seat’s term.
Former Council members Bill Taulbee, Jim Panico and Joan Randolph and Board of Zoning Adjustment member Roger Alberico have all expressed interest in the position, Schieferdecker said. Former Councilman Keith White had expressed interest but withdrew his name.
Council seats currently held by Phil Bonus and Linda Frosch are also up for election in March. Those are full, three-year terms. Both Bonus and Frosch said they will run for re-election, but only Frosch has filed an intent-to-run form.
Board of Zoning Adjustment member Benjamin LaFreniere filed an intent-to-run form for Bonus’ seat, City Clerk Maria Waldrop said. Resident Ivan Valdes has filed an intent-to-run form for the vacant seat. The qualifying period is Monday, Jan. 17 through Friday, Jan. 21.
Schieferdecker replaced five-year Mayor Doug Kinson, who resigned to run an unsuccessful bid for Orange County Commission.
At Council’s Dec. 13 meeting, Schieferdecker was ready to read a list of former elected officials still residing in Maitland that could be considered for the open seat, but Councilwoman Bev Reponen stopped him. She said she had been “left out” because she hadn’t been asked to compile a list.
“That’s going to dampen the enthusiasm for anybody else to volunteer,” she added about the list being read.
Schieferdecker said he didn’t intend to “underhand” anyone. He thought all Council members would compile a list. “All we’re doing is identifying the people who are willing to have their name in the hat,” he said.
Per the Maitland charter, if there is a vacancy on Council, it must be filled within 30 days — Feb. 3 in this case — or the city must hold a special election.
“It would not be my preference to get to a special election,” Councilman Phil Bonus said. “That would be expensive.” Bonus suggested holding a special meeting or two to ensure the appointment is carried out right.
There was some discrepancy over whether the person would serve through March 8 or until the second meeting in April, when a councilperson-elect is usually sworn in. But City Attorney Cliff Shepard said that since it is an ongoing term, the person elected on March 8 will begin serving on March 9.
Kinson said that the person who is appointed to serve on Council should not be running a campaign.
“I do not recommend putting somebody in the position that is running for office in March because they’ll be busy running the whole time,” he said.
There had been some buzz over whether Kinson would fill the seat, but Shepard said a member of Council who is term-limited is not eligible to be elected or appointed for one year.
On Monday, City Council will appoint a candidate and that person’s first Council meeting will be Jan. 24, Schieferdecker said. “That will give that person two weeks to get up to speed on everything,” he said.
Kinson urged Council to make a unanimous decision.
“Do you see the mess that you put us in?,” Councilwoman Linda Frosch joked with Kinson about his early departure.
Run for office
There are three Maitland City Council seats up for grabs in the March 8 election. The qualifying period for these seats opens noon Jan. 17 and closes at noon Jan. 21.
For more information on running for office, contact the Maitland City Clerk’s office at
407-539-6219 or firstname.lastname@example.org