BRADENTON BEACH – Former Planning and Zoning Board member Bill Vincent says he’s withdrawing from the Bradenton Beach City Commission race.
On Thursday, June 28, Vincent distributed an email that said in its entirety: “Greetings. I have withdrawn my candidacy for commissioner of Bradenton Beach without advance announcement or public comment.”
Vincent announced his withdrawal a week after he and four other candidates qualified to run for the two at-large commission seats currently held by Marilyn Maro and Ralph Cole. Maro and Cole are seeking reelection and being challenged by former Scenic WAVES chair Tjet Martin and former Planning and Zoning Board member John Metz.
In 2016, John Chappie defeated Vincent in the Ward 4 commission race by a 378-234 vote margin. In 2014, Commissioner Jan Vosburgh defeated Martin in the Ward 4 race by a 347-143 vote margin. This is Metz’s first pursuit of a Bradenton Beach commission seat.
Vincent, Martin and Metz are among six former city advisory board members who resigned from their volunteer city positions last summer amidst allegations of Sunshine Law violations that are now the subject of a pending civil lawsuit initiated by the city and a city resident.
Metz is also the plaintiff in the stalled, but still pending, lawsuit he filed against the city and Building Official Steve Gilbert in 2016 in an attempt to have a neighbor’s property declared ineligible for continued use as a vacation rental.
In 2012, Martin, Bill Shearon and Jo Ann Meilner filed a lawsuit against the city in objection to a beachfront parking allowance given to Ed Chiles’ BeachHouse restaurant. The lawsuit was later settled in a manner that preserved Chiles’ parking rights but also allowed for the creation of a small beachfront park.
According to City Attorney Ricinda Perry, there’s nothing in the city charter that prevents someone involved in an active lawsuit with the city from running for a commission seat or serving as a commissioner if elected.