Flagler Beach and Beverly Beach are holding the year’s first local elections on March 2. The Beverly Beach races are uncontested, though the city will have two new commissioners. The Flagler Beach races for mayor and one commission seat very much are contested.
As it has for many years, the Flagler Beach Woman’s Club will host a Candidates’ Night for the five contestants in that municipal election. The forum will be held in person on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at 1524 South Central Ave., Flagler Beach, for a limited number of people. The current pan is to have a video recording of the event available the next day on Facebook. But it will not be shown live, the signal being weak at that location.
Three candidates are vying for the mayor’s seat that Linda Provencher has held since 2012, after serving as a city commissioner from 2006 to 2010. She is not running again.
The three candidates competing for the seat are Kim Carney, Suzie Johnston and Patrick Quinn. Carney was a Flagler Beach city commissioner between 2011 and 2020. She resigned to run for a County Commission seat against Dave Sullivan, and lost that race. Johnston is a real estate broker and a Provencher protegee. Quinn (known as Pat Quinn) conducts home inspections.
Just one commission seat is up: that of incumbent Eric Cooley, who owns the 7-Eleven on South Oceanshore Boulevard and was first elected three years ago. His Challenger is Paul Harrington, a general contractor and a fixture at city commission meetings. (His biography, posted at the Supervisor of Elections’ website, specifies: “In 1991 Paul became a self employed as a licensed General Contractor in Maryland and Virginia. He built sunrooms, screen porches and decks and provided consulting services for owner developers around Washington, DC and Baltimore. Although semi-retired he continues to provide consulting services.”) He ran for a seat last year, when two seats were up and Marshall Shupe was hoping for reelection. Harrington came in third, just ahead of Shupe but his 645 votes were 68 votes behind Deborah Phillips’s, and 200 votes behind Ken Bryan’s. Phillips and Bryan were seated.
At the Woman’s Club forum, each candidate will have six minutes for an initial presentation, filling the first half-hour of the event. They will then answer questions, and finish with closing statements. The questions will be provided by the audience.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, there will not be the usual meet and greet afterwards, and the club’s famous cookies will not be served, nor will coffee.
Reservations are required for in-person attendance. A reservation may be secured by calling Jane Mealy at 386-439-4811. Those who do not intend to attend in person may also ask questions. “If they have questions ahead of time they can call me with those questions and I’ll make sure they’ll get asked,” Mealy said.
The Beverly Beach race is over before it started. Four seats are up, including that of Mayor Steve Emmett. Emmett’s candidacy was again uncontested.
On the commission, the seats of Douglas O’Connor, Debra Wingo and Jeff Schuitema were up. Of the three incumbents, only Schuitema filed for reelection. O’Connor, a first-term commissioner, is building a house in Flagler Beach, so he is no longer eligible to run for the Beverly Beach commission. But he says he will run for the Flagler Beach City Commission in two years. Wingo also did not file for re0-election.
Larry Mathies and Philip Krakowski did. And since they and Schuitema were the only three who qualified for the three seats by the time qualifying ended the afternoon of Jan. 11, all three were elected, as was Emmett.
Mathies was on the Beverly Beach commission from 2012 to 2018. Krakowski was a director at Surfside Estates, and has resigned from that position to be a commissioner, Town Clerk Jim Ardell said today.
Ardell says he will administer the oath of office to all four at the end of the commission’s business meeting on March 1.