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Replacing Meeker: Palm Coast Council Will Appoint Successor Rather than Hold Election

| June 26, 2012

The successor to Frank Meeker's seat will not be elected until 2014. (© FlaglerLive)

Palm Coast City Council member Frank Meeker’s term doesn’t expire until November 2014–29 months from now. But even though Meeker announced his resignation from the council last month (to run for the Flagler County Commission), the council will not hold an election to fill out Meeker’s term. Rather, it will appoint a successor in November, when Meeker’s resignation becomes effective.

The reason: Meeker decided to serve until the last possible day he could on the council, thus pre-empting an election, as required by the city charter, when a seat becomes vacant with more than half the term remaining. That election could have been held concurrently with the Aug. 14 primary and the Nov. 6 general election–as it is being held for the seat Milissa Holland, the county commissioner, is vacating, even though Holland, too, will be serving until November. Meeker is running for Holland’s seat.

“I guess I thought I wanted to serve as much time as I was elected to do,” Meeker said, explaining his decision. “It’s not like I had a lot of time thinking about it, and it’s done. It is what it is.”

Meeker has been thinking for a very long time about moving from the city council to county commission, but Holland only made her decision to run at the 11th hour, as the qualifying window was closing. Meeker said he had to think fast. He was in Georgia at the time, visiting his mother. He wrote his letter of resignation, and put down an effective resignation date of November.

“I was dealing with other issues at the time,” Meeker said. “I looked at other letters of resignation and how they were handled and just followed the format. There was no ill intent to do things one way or another.”

Had Meeker made his resignation effective at the time when he announced his run for the commission, the council would then have, by charter, been compelled to hold an election to fill out the term.

The city council faced similar situations in the past. When Jon Netts resigned his council seat to run for mayor in 2007, that seat was filled not by appointment, but with an election–with Meeker, ironically, winning the election, serving out the two years remaining on that term, then running unopposed in 2009. Meeker’s four-year term was extended to five years (along with that of Bill Lewis) when a referendum last year changed Palm Coast’s election schedule to coincide with national elections and save the city money.

The council has also filled vacated seats by appointment, as it did when Alan Peterson resigned to run for the county commission in 2008. That’s the model the council is following this year for Meeker’s seat.

The council is soliciting letters of interests and resumes from any qualified Palm Coast resident. To be qualified, the resident must live in Meeker’s district–District 2, which is roughly northeast Palm Coast: north of Palm Coast Parkway, east of I-95 and Matanzas Woods Parkway. The city is also sending solicitation letters to any residents of that area who have graduated from the city’s citizen’s academy, and to current members of city boards (planning and zoning, code enforcement, beautification, leisure services.)

The city council will review the applications, rank them and return them to the city clerk, who will draw up a short list of applicants. Those applicants will be interviewed by the council, in public. The council will then rank the remaining applicants again and vote on the appointment. It is possible, as was the case with Peterson’s replacement, that the council will take several votes to settle on a choice. The Peterson seat was eventually filled by Bill Lewis, who had lost to Peterson in the 2005 election, 54 to 46 percent.

If you’re interested in applying for the council seat, contact City Clerk Virginia Smith at (386) 986-3713, email her at, fax your resume and letter of interest at (386) 986-3714, or mail her at 160 Cypress Point Parkway, Suite B-106, Palm Coast, FL 32164.

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20 Responses for “Replacing Meeker: Palm Coast Council Will Appoint Successor Rather than Hold Election”


    Out with the old ………in with the new!!!!!!!!!

  2. lefty loon says:

    Certainly is a nice neat way to disenfranchise voters and gives the appearance of maintaining a majority control of the votes on the city council. Sheep dip. BS. or whatever else you want to call it,,,,it stinks.

    • Think first, act second says:

      I wonder where the disenfranchise posters on this blog are? This is as clear a case of disenfranchisement as you can get. I agree with Yea right also, Holland knew months ago
      she would run for the House seat when the redistricting was done, but she waited. Meeker
      Netts and Holland were seen dining in a local restaurant before this and the thought is a
      ploy to fill Hollands seat, since the word on the street was that Netts was also interested. Guess
      he lost the coin toss.

  3. Yea right says:

    It has been previously reported that Meeker and Holland discussed this quite some time before it all unfolded. Meeker knew what he was doing when he did it. He’s been on the Council long enough to be very familiar with the Charter. If an investigation were conducted, and the truth uncovered- what would Meeker say then?

  4. SSDD says:

    Well the way the city likes to waste money, you would think they would want to pay to have an election… No instead, let’s just not make Meeker change his date and go against the city charter. Par for the course!

  5. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    I certainly don’t want to pay the costs of any investigation surrounding a decision that has not even the hint of any illegality. The charter can always be amended. If you don’t like the council’s ability to appoint a successor when a vacancy occurs, tell the council you want the charter changed to require an election whenever a vacancy occurs.

    By the way… there is nothing unique about the charter. Many Governmental bodies have a very similar process when vacancies occur.

  6. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    And frankly keep in mind the provision of the Florida constitution that requires office holders to resign in advance of seeking another office is a good thing. It prevents what often occurs at the state and national level where you have sitting senators, continuing to collect salary and benefits, but instead spending all their time campaigning for President. They should also have to resign before running. In 2008 we had 4 sitting senators (Obama, Biden, Clinton, McCain) and a Governor (Palin) campaigning full time instead of performing their duties, but continuing to collect salary and benefits. Hell in 2008 & 2004 we had Biden and Liberman run for VP and reelection for Senator at the same time!

  7. Joe A. says:

    I do not have an opinion of Frank Meeker. For the most part, I think he has done an okay job on the city council. The time to resign, I dont know… it can go 6 or 1/2 dozen ways.

    But, I will be voting for him because I think the shenanigans going on in his race with Dennis McDonald and Carole Ruffalo are a disgrace to the election system.

  8. Will says:

    @ Joe A

    There is one more choice in this county commission race. Abigail “Abby” Romaine has qualified to run as an NPA – No Party Affiliation – candidate. She won’t be on the Primary ballot as the only NPA in the race, BUT, she will be in the November general election against whichever Republican wins the primary.

    This race will NOT be settled in the primary as will some others as long as Ms. Romaine is in the game.

  9. Justice for All says:

    @ Johnny Taxpayer – Meeker will be campaigning while he is on City Council – his resignation is effective in November. I, for one, would’ve preferred an election. This is gaming the system.

    • Johnny Taxpayer says:

      Yes I understand this, (he’s part-time don’t forget, however)… but at least under the Florida system the candidate must resign their current post, so even if they don’t win the seat their campaigning for, they loose their current seat. Whereas Joe Lieberman, John McCain, John Kerry etc just returned to the senate as if they’d been there the whole time.

      And It’s not “Gaming” the system to follow the law. As I state earlier, demand the city council change the charter if you want an election the next time this happens.

      • Think first, act second says:

        It is “gaming” the system when a candidate does not resign his/her current position to allow for an election, but instead of his/her selfishness keeps the position until the election is over, thus “gaming” the system by disallowing an election to replace him/her. A resignation effective one month before the election, in October, would have required an election, under the law you want followed, and which I agree, if it is the law observe it just don’t “disenfranchise” the citizens of electing their representatives unless letting 4 citizens appoint whoever they want. 4 vs 40,000!

  10. Magnolia says:

    Where are all those people who were complaining about being disenfranchised?

    We now don’t elect representatives? I don’t think so.

  11. karen says:

    I want an election.

  12. PJ says:

    Goodbye Meekeri won’t vote for you for Flagler Commissioner you were not a good enough City Council why would I do something so stupid?

    If the rest of the Council will appoint someone without a public vote please be assured that this voter who does vote will not vote for anyone of you all.

    Change will be good.

  13. PJ says:

    Hey Johnny Taxpayer if the city council was run like the charter says in the first place I would not sound so bitter. If you think this group of politicians are doing a good job then you vote for them.

    I say change is good!

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