By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
First-term city commissioner Michael Pierce beat second term commissioner Bill Shearon 193 to 127 to replace John Chappie, who was unable to run for his fourth term due to term limits.
“I am elated and humbled by the many people who voted for me,” Pierce said on the steps of Tingley Memorial Library shortly after the polling results were posted on the door. “I am overwhelmed by the great number of people who had confidence in me.”
The margin for the race was 60 percent for Pier to 40 percent for Shearon.
The turnout, 320 out of 872 registered voters in the city, amounted to 37 percent, which some would consider high for a non-presidential election.
The race for mayor was a rather subdued and civil one as neither side criticized the other during interviews before the election. Both men had been active as city commissioners.
Pierce’s win means that Shearon will leave office after the swearing-in ceremony at city hall at 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19. He will be replaced by Chappie, who ran unopposed for the Ward 4 seat when Shearon announced he would resign to run for mayor.
Bob Connors qualified to run for Pierce’s Ward 2 seat and will be sworn in Nov. 19 without facing election because he faced no opposition.
Chappie was a popular mayor who presided over an administration that was able to secure a number of grants for improvements to the city, including a refurbished pier, sidewalks along Gulf Drive north of Cortez Road and landscaping improvements.
Pierce ran on a campaign to make the city a walkable community as one way to deal with traffic jams and a shortage of parking spaces. He also wants to make sure families and tourists feel safe on the streets at night.
He would like to institute a rewards system for city employees to encourage improved efficiency.