With a hat-tip to Mariella Smith, who posted a note on Facebook, it seems County Commissioner Ken Hagan has decided after all to run for outgoing County Commissioner Jim Norman’s seat. This could trigger Governor Crist to appoint a replacement to fill the remainder of his term.
The issue is, Hagan’s was just re-elected to a second four-year term last year in District 2, but the election for Norman’s District 5 seat is in 2010. To actually run for this seat, Hagan has to technically submit his resignation for his current seat in before the June 2010 qualifying week, although the resgination can be effective on election day.
Okay, this doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary. In fact, this kind of scenario was predicted by Wayne Garcia a few weeks ago. He saw a possibility of Hagan making this switch, and State Senator Victor Crist, who was planning to run for District 5, switching to District 2.
Ah, but there’s a little catch in Wayne’s scenario: the Florida Constitution.
Article IV, Section 1, paragraph (f) reads:
When not otherwise provided for in this constitution, the governor shall fill by appointment any vacancy in state or county office for the remainder of the term of an appointive office, and for the remainder of the term of an elective office if less than twenty-eight months, otherwise until the first Tuesday after the first Monday following the next general election.
The term for Hagan’s seat ends in November of 2012. The rub is, when does the “vacancy” actually exist?
One possibility says the “vacancy” exists when Hagan submits his resignation letter. That will be May of 2010, more than 28 months before the end of his term.
On the other hand, the “vacancy” may not exist until election day. That will be November of 2010, less than 28 months before the end of the term.
In 1998, former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik resigned to head up the Florida 2012 effort. His resignation, submitted in November but effective in December created a vacancy, as his term ended in 2000. To fill the vacancy, late Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Ben Wacksman to the seat.
It will be interesting to see how this will play out. Right now, I think – and I neither AM an attorney nor do I play one on TV – but I think the vacancy would not really exist until November. Meaning Governor Charlie Crist would have to appoint a replacement; and, while they are not related, I see no reason why Governor Crist would not appoint Senator Crist to the position.