Two more apply for vacant County Commission seat
Published: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 10:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 10:47 p.m.
More than two weeks after County Commissioner Rodney Long stepped down, there’s been no deluge of applicants seeking the vacant District 5 seat.
As of Tuesday, the Governor’s Office had received four applications to replace Long, a Democrat who left office in December with some 11 months remaining on his term.
Since Dec. 19, Republican Michael Bowie and independent Terry Martin-Back have applied for the vacant seat.
Republicans Jennifer Flinn, a former Columbia County commissioner who serves on Alachua County’s Board of Adjustment, and Victor Smith, a Newberry High graduate and Air Force retiree, have also applied.
Martin-Back, 57, currently serves on the county’s Code Enforcement Board and Veterans Services Advisory Board. He served in the U.S. Army from 1971 to 1994 and works as a general contractor and real estate broker.
Bowie, 46, is the former president of the Alachua County Branch of the NAACP, a post he held for nearly a decade. Bowie works as the director of the Office of Recruitment, Retention and Multicultural Affairs at the University of Florida College of Education.
Martin-Back said he felt that the majority of commissioners, once they are in office, “try to go along to get along and I’m not that type.”
If appointed, he said, his focus would be on cutting “wasteful spending” and looking to trim the number of county employees. He said, at this point, he did not have specific ideas on where the cuts would be made.
He said he would want the county manager to prepare an evaluation that includes recommendations on staffing reductions.
Bowie said that, through his former role in the NAACP, he knows the issues in District 5, which includes predominantly African-American east Gainesville.
He said he applied in an effort to maintain diversity on the County Commission and to ensure that different perspectives are represented on the board.
“I definitely wanted to make sure there was representation from all aspects of the community,” he said.
Martin-Back and Bowie both said that continued growth and development are key to the county’s economy.
There is no timetable for Gov. Rick Scott to appoint a replacement to finish Long’s term, meaning the vacancy could remain for several months.
For example, a commissioner from Okeechobee County passed away late last March and Scott appointed a replacement in early November — almost eight months later.
Meanwhile, the Alachua County Commission will have its first meeting since Long’s resignation on Jan. 10. With four commissioners, the possibility exists of deadlocked 2-2 votes.
Contact Christopher Curry at 374-5088 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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