By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH - Three seats on the Vero Beach City Council are up for grabs and seven candidates have qualified to run for them.
Incumbents Mayor Pilar Turner, Vice Mayor, Craig Fletcher and Councilman Jay Kramer are joined in the race by Nick Thomas, Brian Heady, Karen Kozdra and Dan Stump.
Mayor Turner, who was appointed by her fellow council members as mayor in 2011, was first elected to public office in 2010 as a councilwoman.
She was the fifth woman to be selected as mayor in the city's history.
Mayor Turner said her primary reason to run again was because there is more work to do to bring the city to a sustainable position.
For the past two years, Mayor Turner has been a strong voice calling for accountability in employee performance and benefits, as well as encouraging negotiations between the city and Florida Power & Light for a sale of the electric utility.
"The last two years I have a record of proven leadership and commitment to community," Mayor Turner said.
When it comes to being fiscally responsible in city business, there is nothing more important right now than getting the city's electric utility sold, she said.
The city's budget and employment will be easier for members of the public to understand when the transfer of electric funds to the general fund is eliminated, making revenue and spending more transparent.
Economic development will be affected in a positive way with the sale because the business community will have a more attractive electric rate to advertise to new businesses.
"The most important thing we can do is give our businesses the lowest rates in the state in our area," Mayor Turner said.
She said she would continue to look at cutting costs in the city by eliminating some middle-management positions and redefine employee benefits to a sustainable level comparable to employees in the private sector.
Previously, Mayor Turner led the charge to implement a "use it or lose it" policy for employee sick and vacation days, which doesn't allow large cash payouts for accumulated days after an employee stops working for the city.
Hometown News is attempting to contact all candidates for city council for profiles.
To see more candidate profiles, read the Hometown News or search online at www.myhometownnews.net.