NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Amid a mountain of personal tax debts and continuing corruption in New Smyrna Beach governance, Adam Barringer is not seeking a third term. And as expected, two-term City Commissioner Jack Grasty has filed papers to run for the top municipal post.
There's an outside chance former Commissioner James Hathaway, who gave up his 18-year-tenure on the commission in his unsuccessful run for County Council may jump into the race, but earlier this week Hathaway told Headline Surfer® he was simply "weighing his options."
Hathaway could not be reached for comment this morning and calls to Grasty and Barringer went unanswered.
Barringer was first elected mayor in a close race over then-incumbent Sally Mackay. Then he and the commissioners, including Grasty and Hathaway, awarded themselves an extra year in office so the city could switch to even-year- elections. Commissions seats are four years and the mayor's post is two years.
Barringer ran unopposed in 2012 and was automatically awarded two more years. Grasty easily won re-election in 2009 over two other challengers, Palmer Wilson, a retired cop who would go onto chair the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority until he was removed in October in a political move orchestrated by County Councilwoman Deb Denys, who beat Hathaway in the 2012 runoff.
The third candidate was Stephen Sather, a longtime friend of the mayor's who pleaded no contest in the mid-1990s to trying to purchase a large quantity of cocaine from an undercover cop.
Sather was subsequently appointed to the planning board in a vote pushed by Barringer. Grasty, Barringer and a third Commissioner whose seat is up for re-election, Judy Reiker, all voted to raise taxes this fiscal year as did Commissioners Jason McGuirk and Kirk Jones. Reiker has not said whether she'll run again. She did not return a message for comment today.
With Grasty going for the mayor's post, his zone 2 commission seat is now open but has no takers so far.
Editor's Note: Headline Surfer® has an upcoming story on Mayor Adam Barringer's tax debts and a developing story on municipal corruption.