Add ‘Vice Mayor’ to Melbourne Councilman LMAN’S DUTIES

Melbourne City Councilman Paul Alfrey will be busier than usual in 2020.

In addition to the policy-making job for which voters elected him in 2016, he’s got a re-election campaign for a second four-year term in the city’s District 5 seat.

But he’ll also be running council meetings, cutting ribbons or even representing the city in statewide gatherings whenever Mayor Kathy Meehan can’t make it.

In a 7-0 vote Nov. 26, Alfrey’s fellow council members chose him vice mayor for 2020. “I really had no idea the council members would all vote for me,” Alfrey said later. “But I look forward to the new year and I’ll do the best I can.”

While Melbourne voters directly elect their mayor every four years, the council annually chooses the vice mayor from among its own ranks.

Councilman Mark LaRusso, who has said he wouldn’t want the vice mayor job, made the motion to choose Alfrey.

LaRusso’s District 2 straddles the Indian River Lagoon and includes 914 homes on the barrier island.

Alfrey, 49, a lifelong city resident and retired K9 officer with the city police department, succeeds District 4 Councilwoman Debbie Thomas as vice mayor.

“I look at this as an opportunity to break up the girls’ club,” perennial audience member Eric Ellebracht said, noting the last male vice mayor was former Councilman Dan Porsi in 2016.

Thomas, meanwhile, said she is considering running in 2020 to succeed Meehan as mayor. And Meehan, who is term-limited next year, said she is toying with the idea of challenging County Commissioner John Tobia for the county’s District 3 seat.

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