by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes
Chauncey Goss was appointed by a 3-1 vote Tuesday, Nov. 3, to fill the Sanibel City Council seat vacated by Jason Maughan, who resigned to run in the August Primary Election for Florida House District 76. Goss was one of 11 candidates who contended for the open seat, including Maughan since he did not win in August.
Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane voiced his support for Maughan to complete his term that expires in March and said he thought of it as his seat. “Jason has the experience. He ran for a seat and was voted in. You complete the team and are part of the team,” Ruane said.
Councilwoman Holly Smith said it was important to her that this was an appointment and be someone who would not want to run in the March election. “I would like to consider all of these candidates in the electoral process and let the citizens vet the candidates,” she said.
Vice Mayor Mick Denham said he wanted to “give the citizens of Sanibel the chance to decide who should serve on Sanibel City Council. If we choose someone running in March, it’s almost us endorsing that person and putting our thumbs on the scale,” he said.
That was the reason Goss submitted his name for consideration. “I believe that this near the March election, council should not appoint someone who plans to be a candidate because it unfairly tips the field towards the incumbent,” he said. “I believe ultimately the voters should decide and the playing field should be level.”
Goss encouraged all of the candidates who submitted their names for appointment to throw their hats in the ring for the March election. He knows the election process can be daunting to some, but assures them “the worst that happens is a loss.”
“Having been through two losses, I understand the aversion, but life quickly returns to normal and our democratic process challenges us to become involved,” said Goss. “Sanibel is a dynamic community with many highly-qualified individuals and I encourage them to consider giving back to the city by standing for council.”
Goss serves in his interim appointment with experience and knowledge. He was elected to council in 2015 with 95 percent of the votes, but did not seek a second term in 2019.
He was selected by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to serve on the Board of Directors of the South Florida Water Management District in March of that year. He was then elected by his colleagues as chair of the Board.
Goss and his fellow council members will make a second interim appointment in December to fill the seat resigned by Ruane, who handily won his race for Lee County Commissioner. That person will also serve until March, when Denham’s term likewise expires. He will not seek reelection – leaving a historic three open council seats.
“I am grateful to council for moving forward with my appointment and look forward to working with them over the next four months,” said Goss. “I also want to convey my thanks to Mayor Ruane and Councilman Maughan for their years of service to our community.”