Heady gains City Council seat in a shocker, Wilson wins with most votes

By Ian Love, VeroNews.com Managing EditorVERO BEACH — Perennial candidate Brian Heady pulled a stunning upset Tuesday night gaining 932 votes to join Charlie Wilson, who topped the field with 1,059 votes, as the two newest members of the Vero Beach City Council.A rogue candidate if ever there was one, Heady has run for just about every elective office in Indian River County over the last decade. He has been a fixture at City Council meetings using the opening of his three minutes of public speaking time to bash the Council as a collection of “liars, crooks and thieves.” He collected 21.70 percent of the votes in the seven-person race.Wilson ran on the message that the City of Vero Beach needed to get out of the utility business. He was swept into office with 24.66 percent of the vote. Among the losers were incumbents Debra Fromang and Bill Fish, who collected 552 and 274 votes respectively. Former Council member Ken Daige failed in his bid to return to office coming in third and collecting 813 votes. Rounding out the field were newcomers Jack Shupe with 376 votes and Susan Viviano with 289.”I have always spoken on behalf of the taxpaying public and I will continue to speak on their behalf,” Heady said. “I thank the people for their support.”Heady and Wilson will join Mayor Sabe Abell, Vice-Mayor Tom White and Kevin Sawnick in the council chambers on Nov. 6 when a new mayor and vice mayor will be chosen. Should there be no special call meeting prior, one of the decisions for the new council members on Nov. 17 will be whether to vote for a 12.5 percent rate increase for electric utilities. As candidates, both said they would vote against such an increase.Wilson campaigned on a platform of getting the city out of the utility business altogether. He has proposed a plan of selling the utility and land for the estimated $150 million appraised value, paying off the $68 million debt on the utility. The tens of millions leftover, Wilson says, if invested wisely, could generate enough income to offset the $5.9 million infusion of revenue that the city now takes from the utility and puts toward the general fund. That money is generated from utility bills from the city’s 33,000 electric customers.”I am honored to represent the citizens of Vero Beach,” Wilson said. “And I will always represent the citizens of Vero Beach.”City officials have vigorously challenged Wilson’s plan, and with himself and Heady now part of the Council, it could make for some very interesting meetings once the issue is brought forth.Daige, who sat on the Council for two years before being voted out in November 2008, had attended every council meeting in the interim. He studied hard on the issues confronting the city, but failed to ignite voters enough to give him a second chance at office. He ran as a fiscal conservative and promised he would be looking closely at excesses in the city budgetShupe and Viviano, as newcomers to the field, seemed to have the most to learn and the highest hill to climb against a field of more experienced and well-known candidates.

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