Julio Guzman will be nominated for the open Council seat at the Homestead City council meeting on February 20.
Mayor Stephen Shelley named Guzman in a two page letter filed with Council materials for the monthly meeting.
“Based upon the limited facts, information and time afforded to me to make this recommendation, it is my recommendation that Julio Guzman be
appointed,” said Shelley in the letter to his Council colleagues.
“Ultimately, the appointment is only for eight months after which the voters have the ability to choose the person they believe is most in line with their priorities,” the Mayor concluded.
Guzman, a thirty-nine year resident of the area, is the broker/owner of Essential Realty Services. The company website says he received his MBA from FIU in 2013. His listed business achievements include owning multiple Quiznos Sub franchises and “selected real estate development projects.”
The nominee requires four votes from Council’s six remaining members at the February 20 meeting in order to be confirmed for the appointment.
To select a candidate, Mayor Shelley created a twenty-two question application on city issues and community involvement for the five finalists. The questionnaire provided the basis for his individual thirty minute interviews. The written responses from the finalists were available to Council members.
In his letter to Council, Shelley said he received unsolicited letters of
support and third party phone calls supporting candidates for the seat.
Guzman listed his board membership with the South Dade Chamber of Commerce on his Council questionnaire. He recently organized an event with the Chamber and the Miami Association of Realtors where 120 local realtors heard community leaders discuss real estate development in Homestead.
For his appointment, he Mayor said he wanted a candidate who would not run for the position subsequently.
He also felt the sense of Council was a new member should fit in and not “try to inject complications into existing projects”.
“Most of us are concerned that bringing in a new person could disrupt the synergy that we have developed amongst each other and staff,” said the Mayor in his letter.
On his questionnaire, Guzman said it was a “sense of relief” that the commitment was less than a year. “During that time, I can analyze and determine if I enjoyed public duty in that capacity or not,” Guzman responded.
Asked if they’d run for the seat in November, the other finalists all said they were interested.
If Guzman fails to get four votes to confirm his appointment, the Mayor might name another candidate.
In a February 8 memo to Council, the City Attorney wrote that failure to approve the Mayor’s appointment within sixty days of the vacancy triggered another Charter provision.
“Any councilmember can nominate a qualified individual to fill the vacancy subject to the approval of a majority of the Council,” the memo stated.
That sixty days period expires approximately the weekend of March 9. The Mayor would have to call a special session of Council before that date in order to make another appointment.
The Charter also says if less than six months remain in the term of the vacant office the Mayor has the option of appointing someone or allowing the seat to remain vacant. That six month mark for the seat occurs in early May. In between is a two month period of uncharted politics if Council cannot agree.
A practical inability to fill the position would require a six-member Council to operate with a continuing vacancy.
The Charter is clear however that an interim Council member serves until the next regularly scheduled election when the remainder of the term will be filled.
Homestead’s November ballot will include the final two year term for this northwest Council seat, as well as the normally scheduled selection of three Council seats plus the mayoral election.