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It was a moving moment for Mayor Tom Vogelgesang earlier this week when he announced that he would be resigning from the Monticello City Council effective Friday, April 14.
“It is with deep regret that I am resigning,” Vogelgesang said, choking on the words and giving as his reason his acceptance of a job with the auditor general’s office.
His new position, he explained, precluded him from holding public office. He would, however, dearly miss serving on the council and alongside his fellow council members, he said.
All the officials present expressed surprise at the announcement, wished him luck on his new endeavor, and praised him for his fair, analytical and methodical approach to problem solving and the care and consideration he had always exhibited for the citizens and the city. It was an honor to serve alongside him, they said.
Vogelgesang, who currently works for the Jefferson County School District, said his new duties would entail doing audit support for the auditor general, a constitutional officer appointed by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee and confirmed by both houses of the Florida Legislature.
Considered the state’s independent external auditor, the auditor general is charged with providing “unbiased, timely and relevant information” that’s supposed to serve to promote government accountability and stewardship and improve government operations.”
No sooner did Vogelgesang’s announcement settled in than the process kicked in for his replacement. City Attorney Bruce Leinback advised the council that per the city charter rules the mayorship would pass to the vice mayor, who is Councilman Troy Avera, the council’s newest member.
The rules, Leinback said, allowed Avera 30 days to recommend a replacement for the vacancy, which nominee the council, excluding the mayor, would vote up or down.
“The mayor proposes and the council disposes,” Leinback said.
He suggested that Avera might want to select a nominee and email the name to his colleagues in the coming days or weeks so that the council could vote on the person at the May meeting. He also noted that it might take more than one try to fill the vacancy.
This isn’t the first time that the council undergoes the appointment process. In 2005, Vogelgesang himself was appointed to the vacant Group 2 seat, based on the nomination of then Mayor Julie Conley.
Vogelgesang, who went on to win the seat in his own right and became mayor in 2008, at that time recommended Councilman George Evans to fill the vacant Group 1 seat, which Evans also subsequently won on his own. And in 2014, Vogelgesang returned the favor and recommended Conley as the nominee to the vacant Group 3 seat, which she has since held.
Vogelgesang’s replacement will in fact be the fourth to be appointed in the last 12 years.