For our first endorsement of the 2016 election campaign, the Gateway Sun endorses Ed Tinkle for Seat 3 of the Board of Supervisors.

Not exactly a ground-breaking announcement, since Tinkle has already won Seat 3. But nevertheless I do need to say that if I was hand-selecting a five-person board, Tinkle would be on it.

What I do not endorse Tinkle for, is Chairman of the Board.

The community badly needs Tinkle’s input and expertise, but the board does not need Tinkle to be in charge.

But Tinkle is who he is. Supremely confident in himself and his own judgment, and a man who believes he’s the logical choice to lead the district.

So it came as no surprise then when I learned that Tinkle is already jockeying for position, lining up the pieces to become the next Chairman. And there is at least one scenario where that could happen.

You do not vote on who gets to become the Chairman. Shortly after the new board convenes following the November elections, the Supervisors will decide among themselves who will be its Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Looking at the GSCDD meeting minutes following the 2012 and 2014 elections, in both cases the newly elected Supervisors joined the board not in the first meeting immediately following the election, but rather the second meeting. Whether that is the protocol for this election, I do not know. (The Sun launched in January 2015 so this is our first election. I’m learning too.)

The board’s current Chairman is Pelican Preserve resident Bill Guy. I believe that Guy, Tinkle and Vice-Chairman Fineberg will all want the Chairman position on the next board.

I can confirm that Tinkle has spoken to Seat 2 candidate Carol Stanley about becoming the next Chairman. I can also confirm that Tinkle has not spoken to Stanley’s opponent, Kathleen Flaherty. George Huskamp will obviously have Tinkle’s back to unseat Guy.

So that’s the candidates. But has Tinkle also spoken to existing board members?

It obviously makes no sense for Tinkle to ask Guy for his support. I did speak with Supervisor Doug Banks about the Tinkle-as-Chairman topic, but Banks was off the record. I called and texted Vice-Chairman Margaret Fineberg but she did not respond, as is her custom.

Since it’s a 5-person board, you need the support of 3 Supervisors to become Chairman – but you can include yourself in that trio. I will describe the process using the real-world example of how Guy became Chairman on December 4, 2014.

The previous Chairman, Pete Doragh, had lost in the November 2014 election to Rod Senior. At the December 4, 2014 meeting, Gateway’s lawyer Anthony Pires requested nominations from the five Supervisors to select a Chairman. Supervisor Pamela Gill nominated Fineberg, and Senior nominated Guy. Since there were no other nominations, a vote was held. Guy, Senior and Supervisor Gary Neubauer voted for Guy. Fineberg and Gill voted for Fineberg.

Guy became Chairman based on that 3-2 vote.

Guy, Banks and Tinkle will be on the next board. The other two Supervisors will either be Fineberg or Huskamp in Seat 1, and then either Stanley or Flaherty in Seat 2.

If Huskamp and Stanley win, Tinkle will probably become the next Chairman. If Huskamp and Flaherty win I believe Guy will remain Chairman.

If Fineberg and Stanley win, Fineberg will most likely become the next Chairman. If Fineberg and Flaherty win, then again Fineberg will likely become the next Chairman.

Now you understand why Tinkle is supporting Huskamp and Stanley so heavily. I’m absolutely certain Tinkle has done the math himself, and has probably arrived at these same conclusions.

For the record, I would fully support that Chairman Guy remain Chairman regardless of the election results. And if Guy announces he is running again in 2018 he will have this publication’s immediate endorsement. (Hopefully that puts to bed any “the Sun hates Pelican Preserve” talk.)

I do believe Tinkle has a back-up plan to become Chairman. It’s a “nuclear option”… a plan that would involve a recent former Supervisor re-joining the board. But if that happened, the coverage of the situation would absolutely result in lawsuits.

So let’s not go there, gentlemen. Do it the right way in 2018.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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