After each election involving a Florida special district, the new board must go through the process of naming a chairman and vice-chairman of the board as soon as is reasonably possible. The GSCDD has chosen their December 6 meeting, which actually is the soonest feasible moment for them.
The current Chairperson is Margaret Fineberg, while the current Vice-Chairman is Bill Guy. Both are still eligible to be named to either the chair or vice-chair positions, as are Supervisor Doug Banks, Supervisor Ed Tinkle and Supervisor Kathleen Flaherty.
The public does not vote on who becomes chairman. Instead, the five board members make that decision amongst themselves.
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After the 2016 elections Tinkle nominated Fineberg for chairperson and nobody else was nominated. That meant Fineberg automatically became the Chairperson. The fact Tinkle chose to nominate Fineberg seemed out of place at the time, but now that we’ve gone through the 2018 campaign Tinkle’s decision from 2 years ago has come in to focus. Tinkle likely wanted anyone but a Pelican Preserve resident (such as Guy) to become the new chairman, so he felt his best bet was Fineberg.
When it came time to nominate for the vice-chair position, Fineberg nominated Guy with blazing speed. Once again, nobody else was nominated so Guy was awarded the Vice-Chairman position.
Back then I wrote that I wanted Guy to be Chairman and Banks to be Vice-Chairman — but that if I was reading the tea leaves correctly then Fineberg would be chair with Guy as vice.
So can I go 2 for 2?
It’s a lot harder this time around, but I’ll give it a shot.
To begin, I will say that Fineberg, Guy and Banks are the only 3 possibilities to be nominated for the chair and vice-chair positions.
Tinkle did everything in his power to ensure that both Guy and Banks lost their re-election bids in 2018, so the suggestion that that anyone on the Board of Supervisors would want to reward Tinkle given his conduct before and during the elections is laughable.
Flaherty has been a mixed bag in her 2 years on the board, but she came up huge for the community when it mattered most when Flaherty (along with Guy and Banks) held the pond spending in check. However, she just hasn’t asserted herself enough to make me believe that one of the other Supervisors would nominate her.
But let’s go over each Supervisor’s possibilities by seat number, starting with Fineberg in Seat 1. I stress that everything below are just my own opinions based on observations.
Fineberg will want to remain as chair. For that reason I believe she will sit meekly and wait for someone to nominate her. If she’s nominated she will vote for herself (which is standard), whereas if she’s not nominated she’ll vote for either Guy or Banks. If both Guy and Banks are nominated I believe she’ll vote for Guy.
In Seat 2, we have Flaherty. I don’t know if she’ll nominate anyone but if she does it’s going to be Guy. Flaherty would be okay with casting a vote for either Guy or Banks. Both Flaherty and Fineberg live in Stoneybrook, but it seems unlikely that Flaherty would support Fineberg after what Fineberg did at the HOA level back in April.
Seat 3 … Supervisor Ed Tinkle, ohh hoh … Tinkle will try to keep the Chairman position away from Guy and probably Banks as well. If Tinkle nominates anyone it will be Fineberg, and Tinkle would vote for anyone but Guy. Tinkle may try to make amends with Banks by nominating and voting for him, but I doubt it. And even if Tinkle did that (and this is me speaking, NOT Banks) I think it would be received as an empty gesture by Banks.
Seat 4 is the recently re-elected Vice-Chairman Guy. I think that Guy has a good chance of being nominated for Chairman. He might nominate Fineberg, or he could think outside the box and say “It’s time to pass the torch to Doug” and nominate Banks. If Guy is nominated then he’ll obviously vote for himself, and if not then Guy would be fine voting for either Fineberg or Banks depending on how the nominations go.
Finally in Seat 5 is Banks. Since he joined the GSCDD board Banks has been my favorite Supervisor. But the one thing I simply don’t understand about him is he has this inexplicable appreciation of Margaret Fineberg. I even asked him about it 1 or 2 years ago and he didn’t really have a good reason, just general compliments. For whatever reason he likes Fineberg. Go figure. But, Banks also really likes Bill Guy. Those two Supervisors made a dynamic duo in the 2018 election campaign, forging a new political reality that altered Gateway politics for decades. Now .. I won’t lie, I subtly tried to get Banks to tip his hand to me as to which way he’s going to lean when it comes to the chairman position. He wouldn’t indicate if he’d back Fineberg or Guy, but he did suggest he felt that both Fineberg and Guy were better choices than he was for the chair. If I had to guess (and I kind of have to since that’s the whole point of this article) I think Banks is going to be dumb and go with Fineberg, despite everything that Guy did for Banks in the election (and vice versa). I hope I’m wrong. Even if Banks is nominated, I believe he will vote for either Fineberg or Guy before Banks votes for himself.
So here are all the nomination possibilities as I see them.
Outcome 1: Only Fineberg is nominated, and she remains chair.
Outcome 2: Fineberg and Guy are nominated. Fineberg wins with votes from Fineberg, Tinkle and Banks.
Outcome 3: Fineberg and Banks are nominated. Fineberg wins with votes from Fineberg, Banks and Tinkle.
Outcome 4: Fineberg, Guy and Banks are nominated. Fineberg wins with votes from Fineberg, Banks and Tinkle.
Tinkle will not allow Guy to be Chairman. For that reason I believe there is no possibility that Guy would be the only one nominated.
By the same token, Fineberg has been largely ineffective at keeping Tinkle in check at the meetings, which is another reason Tinkle wants Fineberg as chair. So for those reasons I believe Guy (or even Banks) would be the far better choice as Chairman. Make no mistake, babysitting Tinkle for his final 2 years on the board will be part of the job for the next chairman.
By the looks of it, unless Banks gets his act together and votes for Guy like he should, I believe Fineberg will remain Chairperson.
Assuming Fineberg does win, the selection of Vice-Chairman is a coin flip between Guy and Banks.
It certainly is time to begin passing the torch to Banks. However, Guy has done more over the years to deserve the vice-chair position.
I’m honestly not going to sweat whichever one of them gets it because either way it’s a solid choice for the district.
For the sake of argument let’s assume Tinkle nominates Banks for vice-chair just to stick it to Guy, while either Flaherty or Fineberg nominates Guy, I think Tinkle and Banks would vote for Banks while Flaherty and Guy would vote for Guy.
That leaves Fineberg to decide the vice-chair. I’m honestly not sure if Fineberg would cast the deciding vote for Guy or Banks. But since I have to guess, I’ll guess she’s going to side with Guy’s longer service and vote for him.
In my opinion, the ideal Board of Supervisors would have Guy as Chairman and Banks as Vice-Chairman, but I believe when the dust settles that things will remain just as they are now. Fineberg as chair, Guy as vice-chair.
Once again, the Supervisors will decide at their meeting on December 6.
Don’t tell anyone I told you, but if Jim Brann had defeated Guy in the 2018 election, Brann had a strategy mapped out that involved duping Tinkle and becoming Chairman Jim Brann.
On an unrelated note, after the election I had a meeting with a member of the Pelican political leadership. I can’t go in to too many details but a plan is definitely in place for 2020. I’m happy to report that Gateway is in great shape for the foreseeable future.