Maitland City Council appointed a last-minute candidate to Seat 1 on Monday — former two-term Mayor Robert Breaux.
The seat became vacant when Howard Schieferdecker took over for resigning Mayor Doug Kinson on Jan. 4.
Breaux served as a councilman from 1984-1992 and as mayor from 1993-2000. He said he is most proud of the work he did to build consensus and involve city residents in planning.
“I’m from the past, and I’m here to help you,” Breaux said after taking his seat on the dais.
Breaux said someone called him that day to ask if he was interested in filling a vacancy on Council.
Some candidates were contacted in early December about the seat, and City Council began discussions on Dec. 13. A list was put together of former Council members who still lived in the city and were interested in serving — Bill Taulbee, Jim Panico and Joan Randolph. Board of Zoning Adjustment member Roger Alberico also volunteered.
Because Breaux was added to the list the day of the meeting, some on Council wondered if the vote should be delayed.
“It’s a bit of moving target,” Councilman Phil Bonus said. “I didn’t talk to former Mayor Breaux. … I don’t have the background to make the decision with.”
Mayor Howard Schieferdecker said despite Breaux’s late entry, he felt that Council should install someone immediately. “We have many qualified people here,” he said. “We need someone to make decisions for our city.”
When Schieferdecker asked what Breaux thought, Breaux agreed. “It’s an honor to be considered. … I think you should fill the position. Any of these people would be good candidates.”
Councilwoman Bev Reponen nominated Breaux and Councilwoman Linda Frosch seconded her motion. A third would have cemented the appointment, but Bonus nominated former Councilman Bill Taulbee and Schieferdecker seconded him.
Bonus argued that Taulbee was more up-to-date on city issues. “I ask Councilwomen Reponen and Frosch to reconsider the weight of current service versus historical service and put a third in for Mr. Taulbee.”
But Frosch cited that Council will vote on extending the lease of the Maitland Art and History Association, of which Taulbee was the first vice president before he took a temporary leave of absence earlier Monday.
Taulbee said he would recuse himself from any MAHA votes “so no impropriety is assumed or imagined.”
Reponen said she was still troubled by Taulbee’s ties. She said Breaux is retired — except for his coaching and referee duties — and would have more than enough time to devote to the city.
“He is a referee, which you have to admire,” she said. “They have to be totally balanced in their view on everything.”
Schieferdecker said a unanimous decision would have been better, but that it was important to get someone in the seat that night.
“I will third Mayor Breaux,” he said, cementing the appointment.
Ready to work
Breaux was immediately ushered to the podium and took his oath of office. He will serve until March 8, when an election is held for the remaining two years of the seat’s term. Resident Ivan Valdes has filed an intent-to-run form for the seat. The qualifying period is noon Monday, Jan. 17 through noon Friday, Jan. 21.
Breaux said he will not run for election in March.
The new councilman plans to meet with the city manager, clerk and attorney to get up to speed on forthcoming city issues “so I’m as prepared as possible to make a contribution.”
“It’s time to get to work … not to quote anybody,” he said with a laugh.
There are three Maitland City Council seats up for grabs in the March 8 election. The qualifying period for these seats opens Monday, Jan. 17 and closes at noon Friday, Jan. 21.
For more information on running for office, contact the Maitland City Clerk’s office at 407-539-6219 or [email protected]