NEWS

Ponder resignation effective Jan. 15

Staff Reporter
The Destin Log
Mayor Mel Ponder will officially resign his post Jan. 15, as he prepares to run for a seat in the State House of Representatives.

A date has been set.

Mayor Mel Ponder will officially resign his post Jan. 15, as he prepares to run for a seat in the State House of Representatives.

"It's a privilege; it's been an amazing benefit to serve in this position," Ponder told his colleagues during his official announcement at Monday night's Destin City Council meeting.

Ponder, who was sworn into office in March 2014, had originally considered resigning in June, but said he decided to leave earlier so he could focus on giving the race his full commitment.

"As most of you all know, I don't have the benefit of not having to work," he said. "so we felt that for me to be the most effective candidate, I need to honor you guys and honor my family and run this race with the excellence I need to."

Given the upcoming vacancy, city leaders will discuss how to proceed with appointing an interim mayor during their Dec. 21 city council meeting.

City Clerk Rey Bailey said the interim mayor would more than likely be named during the city's Jan. 4 meeting and whomever is selected will hold the post from Jan. 16 until March 21, which is the next council meeting after the municipal election March 15.

By holding the mayoral election in conjunction with the municipal election, the city will save money as they will not have to pay the supervisor of elections office to hold a special election.

"I wanted to step down when it has the least economic impact to the city," Ponder said.

Ponder will be campaigning for the District 4 House seat which will be vacated by Rep. Matt Gaetz. He will run against fellow Republicans Laurie Bartlett, Wayne Harris, Armand Izzo, and Jonathan Tallman.

As for his final decision to run for higher office, Ponder said it was something he and his family prayed about and felt "at peace with."

"I want you all to know it was not done lightly," he said. "It was to fully embrace the opportunity in front of me."