Charter amendement passes
Voters will see a familiar face on the City Commission for three more years.
Winter Park City Commission incumbent Greg Seidel successfully defended his seat during Tuesday’s general election after defeating challenger Wes Naylor by 52.69 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections. Seidel earned 2,514 votes to Naylor’s 2,257.
“I trust in the people of Winter Park,” Seidel said. “I know that when you have somebody who acts with honesty and integrity and runs their campaign talking about themselves that most of the voters in Winter Park will see that, appreciate that and respond to that.”
Improving transportation and traffic flow was one of Seidel’s primary campaign points. He said that the city needs to be leading the way to make these things happen.
“We shouldn’t be waiting for the DOT,” Seidel said. “We can work with the DOT, absolutely, but the city of Winter Park has so many competent people on city staff and our consultants that we can be doing these things and figure out how to get them done.”
“We need to take control of our transportation destiny.”
Public safety was a hot topic during much of the election cycle, resulting in much controversy over which candidate was more adamant about preventing crime. Seidel said that public safety has always been important to him.
“Public safety has always been my priority, but I wouldn’t make a campaign out of public safety, because it’s important to everybody,” “When I call 911, I want them here immediately, and we’re lucky that’s what we have here in Winter Park.”
“I know these guys – they’ve come to my house and they’ve gotten there pretty quick. I appreciate everything they do and I’ll continue to support them.”
Seidel added that he’s hopeful for the future of Winter Park.
“There’s a lot of great people, and together we can do a lot of great things. Let’s try and get that done.”
Winter Park voters also approved a charter amendment changing the city’s election process with 69.61 percent of the vote according to unofficial results from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections. The amendment gets rid of primary elections in the case of three or more candidates running for a seat. The city will now hold its normal general election in March, followed by a run-off election in April if one of the three candidates doesn’t receive more than 50 percent of the votes.
City Manager Randy Knight told the Observer that this charter amendment helps the city by not forcing staff to scramble to send out ballots once qualifying ends if there were three candidates running for a seat.
“It’s been this way in our charter for many, many years,” said Knight, adding that the provision for primary elections could date as far back as 1981, if not much older.
“Within a month of qualifying ending, you have to hold this primary election. It makes it very challenging to get the ballots printed and early voting ballots out in a timely fashion so people can get them returned.”
The charter amendment has the potential to save the city money as well, he said. Before, if two seats were open during an election and three candidates ran for one seat and two ran for the other, Winter Park would be forced to hold both a primary and a general election. If a candidate won the primary election with more than 50 percent of the votes, that could have all been handled during a general election anyway, Knight said.
“Under this new provision, you wouldn’t even have to have the run off because somebody got more than 50 percent of the vote in the general,” Knight said. “It could save not having an extra race in those years where there are three candidates in one of the races.”
Costs to the city during an election come in the form of sending out ballots, paying poll workers and paying the supervisor of elections to run the ballots.
An average election costs the city $30,000, Knight said.