Sheena Britton makes history, chosen to fill District 1 seat

For the first time in Sanford’s 143-year history a Black woman will represent District 1 on the
Sanford City Commission.

Sheena Britton was selected to fill the vacant seat Monday night during a special meeting of the city commission. Britton, a Sanford native, earned the top vote from three of the four commission members.

Twenty-three people applied for the vacant seat, and city commissioners narrowed the field to 5 on June 22. The 5 finalists was a diverse mix that included 3 women and 3 Black residents.

Since 1877 only four women have served on the city commission: Bettye Smith was mayor from 1984 to 1995; Velma Williams was District 2 Commissioner from 1995 to 2018; Linda Kuhn was mayor from 2005 to 2010; and Patty Mahany was elected District 4 Commissioner in 2009 and is still in office.

During that same time, only three Black citizens have served on the city commission, all representing District 2, the city’s lone majority minority district. Bob Thomas served from 1984 to 1995; Velma Williams from 1995 to 2018; and the district’s current commissioner, Kerry Wiggins, was elected in 2018.

A breakdown of each commissioner’s vote:

Mayor Art Woodruff’s top 3 picks included: 1. Sheena Britton, 2. Tammy Agnini, 3. Victoria Robinson Wilson.

District 2 Commissioner Kerry Wiggins‘ top 3 picks were: 1. Sheena Britton, 2. Charles Davis 3. Victoria Robinson Wilson.

District 3 Commissioner Patrick Austin’s top 3 choices were: 1. Charles Davis, 2. Derrick Daniels, 3. Tammy Agnini.

District 4 Commissioner Patty Mahany’s top 3 picks were: 1. Sheena Britton, 2. Victoria Robinson Wilson, 3.Tammy Agnini.

The District 1 seat is vacant after Mayor Jeff Triplett announced June 8 he was running for Seminole County Property Appraiser. Florida law requires elected officials to resign from their current office in order to run for a different office.

At their June 8 meeting, commissioners appointed District 1 City Commissioner Art Woodruff to serve as mayor, thus leaving his seat vacant. The commission must now appoint a citizen to that seat.

The Sanford city charter requires the city commission to appoint a replacement for for any vacancies within 30 days.

Although there is a regular city election schedule Aug. 18 for city commission seats in Districts 3 and 4, the charter also states that if a vacancy takes place with less than 6 months before a city election, the appointee will serve the remaining term, In this case, Woodruff and the new appointee will not run for election until August 2022.

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