The mayor of Destin is resigning his post a little earlier than initially thought in order to make a run for the state House of Representatives. He plans to step down in about a month.
Destin Mayor Mel Ponder has been considering a June departure, in time for Florida’s official qualifying period which is June 20-24th, but this week announced that he will officially resign on January 15th 2016, “The change of course took place because an open seat became available by Mr. Matt Gaetz running for his dad’s vacated seat at Senate. It created an open seat for the State Representative position.”
Ponder who was sworn into office in March 2014 says he feels a responsibility to the city and wants to step down when it poses the least economic impact to the community, “So, the two windows of opportunity would be either step down in June. So, it would have been on the August ballot or step down in January so it’d be on the March ballot.”
Ponder says he’s been contemplating the run for the District 4 seat for about seven months now and he’s taking the opportunity very seriously, “I’m not stepping down to causally compete in this race. I’m not running to come in second. I’m competing to win. Based on the core values and what I believe in, the honor and the things we’ve built in this community.”
Others who’ve announced plans to run for the District 4 seat are Republicans Laurie Bartlett, Wayne Harris, Armand Izzo and Jonathan Tallman.
The Destin City Council is expected to name an “interim” mayor at their January 4th meeting. The person selected for the interim position will hold the job from January 16th, the day after Ponder’s resignation -through March 21st. The Destin municipal election is March 15th.