3 apply for City Commission seat
Published: Friday, October 1, 2010 at 8:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 1, 2010 at 8:22 p.m.
Three applicants have signed up for appointment to the Gainesville City Commission for the five months between Jack Donovan's resignation next month and the upcoming election for his seat.
The application deadline was midnight Thursday, and Harvey Budd, former City Commissioner Warren Nielsen and Nancy Pollard were the only ones to throw their names into the mix.
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Donovan's last day in office representing District 3 will be Nov. 15, the resignation date he set in order to run for the Alachua County Commission.
While he lost in the Democratic primary in August, he still will have to step down.
And since that will come less than six months before the seat is up for election in March, the commission will appoint an interim commissioner instead of holding a special election.
A forum for the replacement applicants is scheduled for Oct. 11, and a decision will be made Nov. 4 through a majority vote of the commission.
Nielsen, 65, who was elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2003, has experience on the board and isn't looking to run for the seat after the interim period. He said he has the experience that would make for a smooth transition until the next election.
“I know how to read an agenda,” joked Nielsen, who retired earlier this year from his post of more than 35 years as a chemistry professor at Santa Fe College.
Nielsen said that while he would be a short-timer if he is picked, he would come in with an agenda of advancing the economic development produced out of the University of Florida.
“It's almost like sitting on a gold mine because of the level of research that is done at the University of Florida,” he said.
Another area he said he is passionate — and knowledgeable — about is the cleanup of the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site.
“That's been about the most frustrating thing I've ever experienced,” he said of the process, which has been ongoing since the mid-1980s.
Budd, 63, the owner of Budd Broadcasting Co. and the chairman of the Alachua County Planning Commission, said he too has no intention of running for the commission after the interim period but said he signed up because he feels there is a “disconnect right now between government and the citizens it serves.”
Residents are concerned about their rising utility bills, and the commission has not done a good enough job addressing the perceived increase, he said.
“You have to make a better argument,” he said. “I don't think they've made one.”
He also said that with his accounting background, he would like to delve into the budget now, at the beginning of the fiscal year.
“We shouldn't be waiting until the last minute to come up with budget cuts,” he said.
Telephone messages left at Pollard's home had not been returned as of late Friday.
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