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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

14 APPLY TO FILL OPEN MARATHON CITY COUNCIL SEAT - Florida Keys Weekly

Last updated Friday, January 21, 2022 10:15 ET

01/21/2022 / SubmitMyPR /

As of Jan. 19, the Marathon City Council had received 14 applications to fill the seat vacated when former councilman Trevor Wofsey resigned in the wake of his arrest for domestic violence.

The complete list of applicants, in no particular order, includes Wendy Bonilla, Eric Buhyoff, Jody “Lynny” Del Gaizo, Kristina Helms, John Lefner, Michael Leonard, Jeff Pinkus, Jerry Rojas, Mark Senmartin, Robyn Still, Richard Tamborrino, Alexander Taylor and Mike Aranda. The council must also decide whether they will accept and consider the application of Kevin Macaulay, who submitted his paperwork shortly after the 12 p.m. deadline.

Two of the candidates – Senmartin (2013-2021) and Pinkus (2003-2007) – enter the process with experience on the council. Del Gaizo was a candidate in the 2021 city council race, but finished just behind Wofsey in the final results.

The four seated council members will be tasked with appointing Wofsey’s successor at a special call meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24. According to the city’s charter, the council must fill the vacated seat by the 30-day deadline of Feb. 4. Since the remainder of Wofsey’s term is more than 81 days, the appointed council member will serve until November 2022, when he or she could seek re-election by popular vote.

With an impassioned address in the most recent council meeting on Jan. 11, councilman Steve Cook raised concerns that a nominee was seemingly pre-selected to fill Wofsey’s seat. Urging the council to set up the special call meeting rather than appoint a successor that night, Cook said the council was “obliged to follow the policies and procedures that we have set forth legally to install an official in the city and never have the citizens think that our rules don’t matter.”

Councilman Luis Gonzalez confirmed that the seated members have been under extensive community pressure regarding the appointment. “No matter who we end up selecting, there will be folks who like that person and folks who don’t,” said Gonzalez. “I know that we are a much better community than what has been displayed to me this week, either by phone call, by email or by text.”

Apart from specifying that the appointee will be confirmed by majority rule and must be legally qualified to hold the office as a Marathon resident and registered voter, the charter provides virtually no other guidance for the selection process. “It’s got nothing,” said city attorney Steve Williams. “It’s just a few sentences.”

Given the lack of direction in the...

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