The St. Augustine City Commission unanimously appointed former Mayor Tracy Upchurch to replace Nancy Shaver, who resigned last week to focus on her health after suffering a stroke.
The City Commission made the decision during a special meeting Monday morning.
Commissioners considered several names but a consensus was quickly reached that Upchurch was the most qualified person on their shortlist.
“Because of his serving as mayor and because of his unique perspective at the legislative level with our state, I think gives him perspective,” said Commissioner Roxanne Horvath.
He previously served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives (1992-1996), mayor of St. Augustine (1990-1992) and as a city commissioner (1988-1992).
Upchurch will officially become mayor when he takes the oath of office, which must be done within 10 days of the vacancy, by March 10. He will serve out the remainder of Shaver’s term of office, which ends on December 7, 2020.
The vote came on Monday despite residents’ calls to give more input before a vote.
During public comment, which preceded the commission’s discussion and vote, one woman said, “I have absolutely no idea who is under consideration or how many are under consideration, and I wish that we were allowed to make comments after names were discussed.”
“Please remember the will of the voters as you deliberate this very serious decision,” she went on to say. “I would hope that there would be no decision today so people can make their voices heard after we know what our choices are going to be.”
But time wasn’t on the commission’s side.
“Normally all of this stuff can be out in the public,” Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline said during the meeting. “But now, here we are Monday, and we’re under the clock. We have to have this decision made by Sunday or the governor appoints.”
The City Commission is tasking staff to come up with an appropriate way to thank Shaver for her service.
Cards or sentiments of support for Shaver can be sent to the City Manager’s Office at 75 King St., St. Augustine, FL 32084 or emailed to cosa@CityStAug.com.