Six now vying for contested Vero Beach City Council seat

VERO BEACH – With the announcement of Recreation Advisory Board member Tracy Carroll Thursday afternoon, the pool of Vero Beach candidates seeking to fill ousted Councilman Charlie Wilson’s seat on the dais grows to six.

“It is with concern for my community that I apply to serve on the open City Council seat,” Carroll wrote in her letter to City Hall. “As a community and civic leader, I represent the ‘silent majority’ of voters in our community – the working parents and families who so often are underrepresented in government.” Carroll is a past Vice-chair and current member of the city’s Recreation Advisory Board, current president of Rotary International, and on the Board of Directors for the Homeless Family Center, among many other civic pursuits.

“Vero Beach is not just a city composed of retirees, but a vibrant community of struggling families and small business owners – residents who are just too busy to flood Council chambers to speak out on issues of importance,” Carroll wrote, explaining that such issues include “inflated electricity bills” and the “attempted denial of parks in ‘my’ backyard.”

Carroll joins a growing list of Vero Beach residents wishing to be considered to serve on the City Council until next November.

Others in the running for the open seat include Ken Daige, who finished third place in the November election behind Wilson and Brian Heady, and residents Roger Rudd, Al Benkert, Richard Kennedy and William Mills.

It remains an open question if the six candidates have a shot at the seat after Wilson announced he would seek a stay of the ruling by Circuit Court judge Paul Kanarek that removed him from office last week.

Wilson said he intends to appeal the ruling and if he receives the stay he would remain on the council until the appeal is decided. Upon Wilson’s removal on Dec. 7, the City Council instituted a process to fill the opening by allowing interested parties to submit an application with the City Clerk. Candidates have until 5 p.m. Friday to submit their resume.

Those seeking the seat will be interviewed by the council members individually in early January, with the top three to be questioned in public Jan. 12, after which the council would make its selection.

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