Florida Keys News
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Governor: Asdourian out, sewer district must hold special election

KEY LARGO -- Attorneys for Gov. Rick Scott last week refused to issue a commission to newly-appointed Key Largo Wastewater Board member David Asdourian.

Asdourian was appointed by the board last month to fill the vacancy created when former board member Susan Hammaker resigned in August.

Hammaker timed her resignation in an effort to prevent the board from adding her seat to the Nov. 6 ballot, when the seats of Robby Majeska and Charlie Brooks were already being contested.

She instead wanted the board to appoint one of the challengers, first Steve Gibbs, who declined an appointment, and later Asdourian, who agreed to an appointment and pulled his name from the general election ballot.

After board attorney Ray Giglio submitted Asdourian's certification letters to the state, he did not get the reaction the sewer board expected.

Based on his many conversations with the governor's office of general counsel, Giglio said the state contends that Asdourian's term of office should expire Nov. 6, and the district should hold a special election for someone to serve the last two year's of Hammaker's term. Board members serve four year terms.

"This is very embarrassing for David," said Brooks, who made the motion to appoint Asdourian.

Asdourian said Monday he plans to run again if a special election is held.

"With everything that happens, there are different points of view," he said. "Although I may not agree, I will respect that decision."

Giglio said the special election would have a qualifying period and would be open to anyone, including any incumbent voted out of office or any challenger who failed to win a seat Tuesday.

Brooks said the mix up isn't really something that should be blamed on Giglio, who advised the board that Asdourian's appointment would be good through Hammaker's unfinished term.

"According to Ray, there's no blame that anyone did anything wrong," Brooks said. "It's just a matter of interpretation."

Giglio said the wastewater board should not feel it erred, but that attorneys often have different interpretations of the law.

"I don't think anything was done wrong," Giglio said. "I still think that, to the extent fingers should be pointed at anyone, they should be pointed at me."

The Key Largo board could appeal the governor's decision to the attorney general, but Giglio said a decision could take 90 days. Giglio said Friday he would advise the board to move forward with a special election.

"The governor's office said, 'Do it this way,' so we'll do it their way,' Giglio said.

Board members have previously estimated the costs of conducting a special election to be about $20,000, a bill likely to be footed by Key Largo rate payers.

Giglio has asked the board to be prepared to make a decision on whether to appeal to the attorney general at its next meeting, which begins at 4 p.m Wednesday, Nov. 7.

jgore@keysnews.com

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