Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Few show interest in open seats

KEY LARGO - Qualifying period ends this week for candidates seeking to run for the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District and Key Largo Fire-EMS District.

Jose Peixoto, who has previously failed in bids for Congress, has filed to run for the wastewater board, where three seats are up for grabs. The three highest vote-getters will assume the seats.

"There are people that have been on the board for too long," said Peixoto, who recently withdrew from another bid for Congress after failing to qualify for the Republican primary.

Board members Andy Tobin, Norm Higgins and David Asdourian are all seeking re-election.

Over the last two years, the district board has made some controversial moves, including the acceptance of thousands of dollars in backpay they determined they were owed due to unpaid annual cost-of-living adjustments. The adjustment followed a raise in compensation from $300 to $380 per meeting which the board requested from the state Legislature.

Under the direction of the current board, though, the district succesfully secured $17 million in state grant money to help pay for capital projects. How to spend the bulk of the money is still being discussed.

So far, only two candidates have filed for the two open seats on the Fire-EMS District board. Board member and candidate George Mirabella has served for two years and was the deciding vote on cutting ties with the former fire department.

A new department has since been formed using the same personnel as the former department but with different leadership.

After Jennifer Miller announced she was not seeking another term, Kay Cullen put her hat in the ring and has drawn no challengers either.

Cullen has said she supports the district's move to oust the former department, but that it is time to move forward.

If no one files to challenge Mirabella or Cullen, their seats will not appear on the November ballot.

Those interested is seeking election to either board can qualify by paying a $25 fee to the Supervisor of Elections office by noon Friday, June 20.

jgore@keysnews.com

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