As a new Marco Island City Council is seated on November 9 and four recently elected members occupy their seats on the dais, the first order of business will be to choose a new Chair and Vice-Chair. After that, one of their next official duties will be to fill the vacant seat left by Victor Rios, who resigned effective at the adjournment of the October 19 meeting of Council.
The City Charter is quite clear in regard to the details of how a seat is to be filled should a vacancy occur within 28 months or less of the person’s unexpired term:
Section 3.05 VACANCY
(3) A vacancy on the Council shall be filled as follows:
- If a vacancy occurs and the remainder of the unexpired term is 28 months or less, the remaining Council Members shall, within (60) days following the occurrence of such vacancy, by majority vote of the Council Members, appoint a person to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term.
Rios’s term had considerably less than 28 months left. Therefore, the person appointed to fill the remaining time will do so through November of 2022.
Rios listed his condominium for sale early in March of 2020, leaving some to speculate why he would not have vacated his seat earlier if he were planning to leave the island. That would have allowed the voters of Marco Island the opportunity to elect someone to fill the remaining time left on his term, as they had with former Councilor Sam Young’s seat.
When Councilor Young resigned, more than 28 months were left in his term, requiring a person to be appointed by the Council to fill the seat until the next regularly scheduled city election. Greg Folley, Phares Heindl and Joseph Rola were the three finalists chosen from a field of five to vie for the temporary position. Folley received a majority vote to fill that seat for the last five months. During the filing period for the 2020 Council seat elections, Folley was the only person to file for the remaining 2-year term that he had filled temporarily. As such, he was declared the winner for that vacant seat.
Heindl and Rola presently are candidates in the 2020 City Council election.
In an interview this week, current Council Chairman Erick Brechnitz indicated his desire to see a process similar to that used to fill Young’s vacancy should he occupy the chairman’s position once again as he stated, “Once Council is seated, I would hope we could agree to request the City Manager to advertise for potential candidates. Council would then proceed to interview those candidates, and we would then have an open and transparent process in open session, hear from the finalists and make a choice.”
The City Council will meet next on November 9 beginning at 5:30 PM.