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Lee commissioner wannabees form long line

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  • | 7:15 p.m. March 24, 2010
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Given Lee County's 14.1% unemployment rate as of January, it's probably no big surprise that no less than 23 county commissioner wannabees have applied to Gov. Charlie Crist for an interim appointment to fill a seat on the commission.

Bob Janes, who died March 10, held the District 1 seat. The district includes Sanibel, Captiva, Cape Coral, and Pine Island. There are two and a half years left in the four-year term, but the appointee would only serve until November, when an election will be held for the seat.

Of the 23 applicants, 20 are men. Lee county commissioners are paid $84,396 a year.

Some of the more recognizable names on the list include former Smart Growth Director Wayne Daltry who lost his job when the office was folded into the community development department recently; Cape Coral Councilman Bill Deile; Mike Jackson, the former economic development director for Cape Coral; School Board Member Bob Chilmonik, who has filed for re-election to the School Board; and former Cape Coral Councilman Paul Asfour.

Also on the list are Don Eslick, former Lee County citizen of the year; Charles Dauray, who has another year on the South Florida Water Management District board and chairs the Big Cypress Basin board; Sanibel Mayor Mick Denham; Industrial Development Authority board member and former Horizon Council Chairman David Barton; and Sonny Haas, who is running for the commission's District 2 seat now held by Commissioner Brian Bigelow.

Residency within the district is not required for such appointments under the state's constitution.

Haas says he will move from Lehigh Acres to Matlacha on Pine Island if appointed. Daltry, a North Fort Myers resident, also lives outside District 1, as do other applicants according to Haas.

Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, met with Crist March 24 to discuss the current list of applicants. With an early April vote scheduled by the County Commission to put single member districts on the November ballot, the governor may act to fill the seat soon. Janes was considered the swing vote on placing the issue on the ballot.


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