Destin City Council appoints Bobby Wagner to temporary seat
Business owner Bobby Wagner on Monday night was appointed to fill-in for suspended Destin City Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell.
City Councilmembers voted 4-2 to appoint Wagner after Councilman Kevin Schmidt made the motion to appoint Wagner. Councilmembers Teresa Hebert and Jim Bagby voted “no” after stating they would want other interested parties to apply for the position.
Wagner ran for City Council in a special election to replace former Councilman Skip Overdier, who resigned after selling his home in city limits. Wagner finished in second place to Bagby. Councilman Dewey Destin said it made sense to give the seat to “the gentleman that almost prevailed” in the last election.
Ramswell was suspended from the council by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Nov. 4 following her arrest in October on charges of official misconduct, violation of public record laws, obstructing an officer and battery on an officer. The executive order states that the suspension period would extend “until further Executive Order is issued, or as otherwise provided by law.”
Ramswell’s term ends in 2022 which gives Wagner — at most — 11 months before he would have to run again. But as Councilman Rodney Braden said, she could be back in 30 days.
Nonetheless, Wagner, 27, said he’s excited for the opportunity to serve even under “weird” circumstances.
“I never stopped campaigning after losing the special election,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning (from councilmembers), get some experience and see what I’m getting into.”
Wagner has lived in Destin since 2005. He’s the owner of Land Air Sea Productions in Destin; is the executive director of the Destin-based nonprofit Trees on the Coast beautification organization; and is also a board member of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce.
He’s worked alongside local governments on environmental projects, including a dive cleanup at Okaloosa Island Pier and helped establish the “beach basket” on Okaloosa County beaches.
Wagner ran last summer on the motto of “Revive, reclaim, sustain.” While campaigning, he said he heard from citizens who were frustrated by “short-term thinking.”
“Environmental issues aren’t one-size-fits-all,” he said. “We have to find ways to get residents involved, and speak to each individual industry in their own language.”
While talking to constituents he said many expressed the need for "new blood" on the council.
"I can be that," he said.
Wagner has a lot of energy and ideas, but says he’s going to pace himself one agenda item at a time.
“I felt devastated when I lost,” he said. “I’m thankful for this chance.”
Wagner will be sworn in at the Dec. 6 City Council meeting.