ANNA MARIA – Amy Tripp has been appointed to fill the City Commission seat recently vacated by Nancy Yetter.
The commission appointment occurred at the Thursday, Feb. 22 commission meeting. Tripp will serve the remainder of the two-year term that expires in November.
Commissioners Carol Carter, Doug Copeland, Brian Seymour and Dale Woodland unanimously ranked Tripp as the top candidate from a trio that also included Jonathan Crane and David Bouchard.
The appointment process devised by City Attorney Becky Vose required each commissioner to rank on paper the three candidates as their first, second and third choices. The seat went to the candidate with the lowest total score.
Tripp’s score was four, followed by Crane’s nine and Bouchard’s 11.
Commission chair Doug Copeland thanked Crane and Bouchard for their willingness to serve and City Clerk LeAnne Addy swore Tripp in so she could participate in the rest of the meeting.
Each candidate was given three minutes to speak before the commissioners voted.
“I saw an opportunity. I ran for commissioner a few years ago and thought it might be a good idea to throw my hat in the ring again. I hope to assist in any way I can,” Bouchard said.
Crane said, “I’d very much like to serve alongside all of you on this commission. I believe I’m the best candidate here in terms of qualifications because of my experience and because of my lifelong commitment to public service.”
He cited his current chairmanship of the Planning and Zoning Board and his experience as a private and public attorney, hearing officer, small claims judge and mediator in Los Angeles County.
Tripp spoke last.
“The Tripp family has had a presence in the city of Anna Maria for over 65 years. My father- -in-law (Ted Tripp) was a mayor and served on the Planning and Zoning Board for 25 years. My mother-in-law, Paula, was on the board of directors at the Historical Society and was a turtle watch volunteer before there was a Turtle Watch organization. I would like to follow their commitment to service,” she said.
“One thing that is most important to me is the home rule protection and I have worked the past two years trying to keep that in place,” she said.
Last year, Tripp gathered more than 600 petition signatures in opposition to the state Legislature’s unsuccessful attempt to eliminate local governments’ ability to regulate vacation rentals. She traveled to Tallahassee to meet privately with legislators and presented them with copies of her petition.
Working from home, she continued her advocacy efforts during the current legislative session that has seen state senators trying to preempt all vacation rental regulation to the state.
At the request of Mayor Dan Murphy, Tripp developed the Anna Maria bike route and route map two years ago.
“These things show that I know how to build a coalition to do positive things for the city,” Tripp said.
Tripp’s husband Alan was born on Anna Maria Island. While raising two daughters in Atlanta, the couple bought a second home in Anna Maria in 2001 and became full-time residents in 2013.
Speaking by phone on Friday, Tripp said, “I felt honored that I was their number one pick across the board. I feel it’s a good fit for me, the commission and the mayor and I look forward to working with them.”
Regarding home rule rights, Tripp said, “I think local government does the best job governing people. They’re the closest to us.”
Referencing comments that state Representatives Carlos Guillermo Smith and Kristin Jacobs made last week when discussing vacation rentals, Tripp stated, “Like they said, the homesteaded property owner should have privileged rights over an LLC owned by someone in another country or another state. They shouldn’t share the same privileges.”
When asked about Tripp’s appointment, Murphy said, “I’m pleased that Amy has joined the commission. She’s going to be a valuable member. She’s got great experience and she knows the all the issues.”