Support local journalism. Unlock unlimited digital access to floridatoday.com Click here and sign up today.
Cocoa Beach City Commissioner Ed Martinez has resigned, citing extensive work travel, and commissioners have scheduled a special meeting to discuss whether to name his successor.
And in the wake of Martinez’s resignation, Cocoa Beach city attorneys issued a memorandum stating that his votes since Jan. 6 are valid, even though the address on his driver’s license and voter registration changed to a location in Manatee County.
“I was making sure that if I had a problem with any insurance, it would be covered. That is all. I was really just covering my bases. I had no idea my voter registration was going to change,” Martinez said of changing the address on her driver’s license.
“I’ve been voting in Brevard since 2008. Obviously that was not something I planned, and that has nothing to do with my resignation,” he said.
The Cocoa Beach City Commission will hold a special meeting on Martinez’s departure at 6:30 pm Friday. The remaining four commissioners will decide whether to appoint a short-term replacement or keep their seat 2 vacant until November, City Clerk Loredana Kalaghchy said.
Martinez resigned Monday, effective immediately. His unexpired term lasts until November 2024. Cocoa Beach voters will elect his permanent successor in the November general election.
Plus:Cocoa Beach City Council’s new plan includes a green space plaza and future parking lot
Plus:Study: Brevard Ranks 12th Most Dangerous US Metropolitan Area for Pedestrian Safety
In a Wednesday memo to commissioners, city attorneys Becky Vose and Wade Vose said Martinez has been buying, renovating and “renovating” houses, including a house in Manatee County.
Martinez has lived in a Cocoa Beach apartment in the Minutemen Causeway building where his ice cream parlor is located, and “has never had the intention of giving up his residence in Cocoa Beach and intends to keep his home as Cocoa Beach in the future.” , said. memo said.
However, an insurance issue arose on Jan. 6 that caused Martinez to change the address on his driver’s license to a location in Manatee County, according to the memo.
“Unbeknownst to Commissioner Martinez, that change of address automatically changed his voter registration to Manatee County. At no time did Commissioner Martinez take any action that, to the best of his knowledge, would have changed his legal residence or affected his ability to represent the City of Cocoa Beach as a city commissioner,” the memo said.
The Voses concluded that analysis of Florida law and city charter “makes clear that Commissioner Martinez was a qualified city commissioner until his voluntary resignation on July 11, 2022.”
Had Martinez not voted since Jan. 6, the memo said, not one City Commission action would have changed except one. That one exception: last week’s vote granting a variance allowing a 70-foot building height for the future Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier resort hotel, rather than the maximum allowable height of 45 feet.
The variation received the required majority vote of 4-1, with Martinez voting for it. Without his vote, the result would have been 3-1 and the variance would not have been awarded. Deputy Mayor Skip Williams cast the negative vote.
According to the city attorneys’ memo, if Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier officials wish to have a “repeat” of the hearing with a new vote “to avoid even the appearance of a problem,” that request must be addressed as soon as possible. possible. possible.
Martinez was appointed to the City Commission in 2015 to fill Seat 2 of outgoing Mayor Dave Netterstrom’s unexpired term after he resigned.
Martínez won the election in 2016, defeating Mary Jane Nail and Eric Herrburger at the polls. He was re-elected unopposed in August 2020 during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said he quit because his work-related travel takes him as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.
“I no longer had the time and availability to be a good asset to the city. I travel quite a bit for my work and the multiple businesses that I have on the East Coast, and some of the work that I do with property sales and things of that nature,” Martinez said.
“So I really just wanted to be fair to the city and allow someone who is there a lot longer than me to fill the role,” he said.
Initially, Martínez submitted a letter of resignation dated June 1 that was to take effect on November 8, the day of the general elections.
But, in an email Monday, Martinez modified his resignation and made it effective immediately.
Last month, Melissa Byron and Keith Capizzi showed up to take part in the Seat 2 race.
Byron’s last day at City Hall was Tuesday: She retired as director of marketing and economic development.
Capizzi is a retired tugboat captain who runs reggae/island radio station WRRJ-FM (89.7 Cocoa Beach/101.5 Melbourne).
Declared electoral candidates will not be considered for appointment to Seat 2, according to Friday’s agenda.
“I think we did a lot of good things in Cocoa Beach,” Martinez said. “I am very proud of our record. The city has transformed a lot since I took office.”
“I had a campaign promise to have dogs on a beach, and I did it. I was very happy about it. Among other things, I helped create the Sustainability Committee, which is basically an environmental committee in the city. And also, the remodeling of the center, as well as the new parking lot of the police station. So I think the city is going in a positive direction,” she said.
Rick Neale is the watchdog reporter for South Brevard at FLORIDA TODAY (for more of his stories, click here). Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or email@example.com. Twitter: @RickNeale1
Support local journalism. Sign up today.