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Opinion: Selecting an interim Mayor is an opportunity for a fresh perspective and new direction

With the news of Mayor Lacey’s resignation, some questions emerged about the process of appointing a replacement interim Mayor. While it is the prerogative of the city commission to steer this process, in light of the recent failures of the commission and growing distrust in its leadership among residents, we strongly encourage the City to engage in a fully transparent and deliberative selection process.

We believe this can be accomplished in two simple steps:

First, in the spirit of transparency, we encourage the commission to hold a public meeting with input from residents to determine and explain how residents may apply for appointment and outline the criteria the commission will use in making the selection of an interim Mayor.

Second, in order to avoid cronyism and favoritism, we ask each commissioner to pledge not to appoint themselves as Mayor, nor anyone who has recently held office or run for office or with known political or professional ties to a commissioner.

We need a fresh voice and new direction.

Given our City’s failures with water quality, unprecedented environmental damage resulting in the fish kill, odor issues, 13 DEP violations since the Flint Water company took over, traffic and development concerns, toxic work environment in city Hall and persistent talent drain among staff, we need an outside perspective now more than ever.

Early indicators suggest the commissioners plan to move quickly under the cover of darkness to maintain the status quo by making incestuous appointments among themselves and their friends without public notice. As of today, the City has not provided any information on how residents can apply for this appointment. Even the city website, through which residents can apply for appointments, states there are no vacancies on the commission and has no option to apply to be Mayor.

We hope we are wrong and that the city reverses course. We encourage our commissioners to take these two simple steps of holding a public informational meeting and pledging to appoint someone with a fresh, outside perspective to give our City the breath of fresh air it so desperately needs.

— Winter Springs Community Association