Our Endorsement for Edgewater City Council in today's special election: Kimberly Yaney

Photo for Headline Surfer / A stoic-looking Kim Yaney in a pic from her Facebook page.

By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

EDGEWATER, Fla -- She's been engaged in municipal politics for more than a decade and the time is at hand for her to wed city government.

That marriage -- Kimberly Yaney being elected as the district 2 city council member -- should it receive the blessing of the majority of residents who participate in today's special election -- could be a difference maker in turning the Edgewater's fortunes around. And clearly away from the ugliness that has permeated the municipal dais for the better part of eight months; the worst of it back in October when the longtime city manager was unexpectedly fired during a special meeting that was more like an episode of the Jerry Springer Show. 

It can't be stressed enough that Kimberly Yaney is the better of the two candidates for the job, and as such is endorsed by Headline Surfer in today's primary. 

Edgewater City Hall needs to get back to government 101, which is ensuring essential services like police and fire are carried out and the day-to-day operations of serving the public's needs -- from issuing building permits to fixing sidewalks to updating parks and recreation programs.

And that is why today's election is important, with Yaney's business acumen -- as a media publishing specialist -- and in her interactions with municipal officials over the years. 

Endorsed: Kim Yaney / Headline Surfer

It can't be stressed enough that Kimberly Yaney is the better of the two candidates for the job, and as such is endorsed by Headline Surfer in today's primary. 

Edgewater City Hall needs to get back to government 101, which is ensuring essential services like police and fire are carried out and the day-to-day operations of serving the public's needs -- from issuing building permits to fixing sidewalks to updating parks and recreation programs.

And that is why today's election is important, with Yaney's business acumen  -- as a media publishing specialist -- and in interactions interactions with municipal officials over the years. ​

And as seamless as government has been in this quiet incorporated bedroom city south of the charm of New Smyrna Beach and the tourism hub of Daytona Beach for the past decade or so under the direction of City Manager Tracey Barlow, the situation exploded without warning that Oct. 29,  a Friday, with a 3-2 vote led by City Councilman Gary Conroy to oust Barlow.

Conroy's motion was quickly seconded by Councilwoman Meghan O'Keefe and backed by then-District 2 Councilwoman Amy Vogt. 

Barlow's ouster was payback by Conroy for scrutiny of a police pension scandal he was involved in years earlier, said former Mayor Mike Ignasiak. And O'Keefe and Vogt were willing conspirators in exacting that revenge, Ignasiak insists, having protested Barlow's ouster  by saying he would not stay on as mayor, even if re-elected in November.

O'Keefe, who was appointed to the council last summer to fill a vacancy was automatically re-elected for four more years in November, even though she was not on the ballot because she had qualified without opposition back in June. She and her estranged husband, Jason O'Keefe, a parks and rec supervisor, are embroiled in a nasty divorce. She's dating a city cop, which has caused issues in the marriage that includes four .children. O'Keefe was arrested on a domestic violence charge in an incident with her husband, but the charges were dropped.

Jason O'Keefe, Ignasiak and others said they believe Conroy, O'Keefe and Vogt met with O'Keefe's father, Oak Hill City Commissioner Jeff Bracy, and plotted Barlow's ouster, which is being investigated by thew State Attorney's Office for possible Sunshine Law violations.

It is Vogt's seat, which she vacated in early January when she and her husband moved out of state that created the opening, leading to today's special election. Yaney's opponent is Jennifer Parker, who is a photographer. Yaney also is the endorsed candidate of Headline Surfer because she has spoken up at several council meetings since that Oct. 29 debacle, asking the tough questions about Barlow's ouster. Parker participated in a Chamber debate, but otherwise has not been as publicly engaged. 

Yaney, herself has been low key for the last couple of months. She and Parker, finished 1-2 in a 3-way primary in February, with former Councilwoman Gigi Bennington, as distant third and out of the running with low voter turnout. Yaney received nearly 43 percent of the votes to just over 38 percent. Had Yaney crossed the threshold of 50 peercent plus an addional vote, she would have won the seat outright.

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and all registered voters in the city can participate.

Polling precincts are:

• Friendship Baptist Church, 2108 Hibiscus Drive;
• Edgewater Landing Clubhouse, 601 Homeport Terrace;
• Florida Shores Property Owners Clubhouse, 2932 Lime Tree Drive;
• Edgewater City Council Chambers, 102 N. Riverside Drive.
Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.