Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood heads a list of several key Volusia County government officials who will retain their job with no opposition in the upcoming election.
Property Appraiser Larry Bartlett, Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis, and Clerk of Court Laura Roth join him.
“It’s the most humbling privilege in my professional career,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “Sometimes when your feet hit the floor in the morning, it’s kind of daunting that you carry all these hopes and aspirations from people that I’m going to be able to do the right thing and make the right call and keep the community safe. It’s something I cherish and I think every day how lucky I am, but yet how hard I have to work in order to keep that trust in me and my organization.
Community trust is fragile, he said. “You just don’t go to a meeting once a month and think you’ve gained people’s trust and confidence. You’ve got to work hard every single day and try to do the right thing day in and day out. And when you make a mistake, you have to stand up and own it.”
With no election campaign, the sheriff said he'll be able to concentrate on his job at a difficult time in the country.
“I have the ability to laser-like focus on the path that lies ahead of us,” he said. “There are many challenges, but there’s many, many opportunities that are going to come out of a terrible tragedy in Minneapolis.”
While the top county officials are unopposed, there is uncertainty with their offices. Voters approved Amendment 10 in a statewide referendum in 2018 that gave considerably more operational autonomy to elected department heads.
The Volusia County Council has approved agreements with them on how the changes will work when Amendment 10 takes effect in January.
But the council also is awaiting an appeals court ruling on whether Amendment 10 should apply to Volusia County.
Also this fall, the County Council Chair position is open with Chair Ed Kelley not seeking re-election. District 3 Councilwoman Deborah Denys as well as Jeffrey Brower and Gerard Witman have qualified to campaign for the position.
Campaigning to replace Councilwoman Denys in District 3 are Edgewater Councilman Gary Conroy, Johan D’Hondt and Port Orange businessman Danny Robins.
Daytona Beach resident Danny Fuqua is challenging incumbent Billie Wheeler for the District 2 council slot, while business owner Barbara Bonarrigo is campaigning against incumbent Heather Post.
Terms for Dr. Fred Lowry (District 5), Ben Johnson (At-Large) and Barbara Girtman (District 1) do not expire until 2022.
Two school board seats are up for grabs. District 2 incumbent Ida Wright will be challenged by Marcey Kinney, Andre’ Grant and Anita Burnette. Carl Persis was unopposed, so he retains his District 4 seat.
In the West Volusia Hospital Authority, Brian Soukup, Dr. Roger Accardi, and Voloria Manning are unopposed. Group A, Seat 1 commissioner John Hill will take on current Group A, Seat 3 commissioner Judy Craig for her seat. Newcomers Jennifer Coen and Michael Ray will vie for Group B, Seat 1.
In the Volusia Soil & Water Conservation District Seat 2 incumbent Kellee Jo Ferrari is being challenged by John Nelson and Wesley Wilson. For Seat 4, incumbent Peter Kouracos is not running, so Wendy Anderson and Barbara Deering are both vying for his position.
In the Indigo Community Development District, Seat 2, Donald Parks, incumbent, is running unopposed. Kevin Killian is unopposed for Seat 4.
Will Roberts is facing David Santiago for the position of tax collector, which has been resurrected.
Almost 50 years ago, the county passed a charter amendment that abolished the elected tax collector role, making it an appointed position as a county employee. But that also could change with Amendment 10, depending on the appeals court decision.
George Burden, Anne Marie Gennusa, and Matt Metz are all vying for the position of public defender with the retirement of Jim Purdy. The position covers the entire 7th judicial circuit.
The primary election is Aug. 18, the general election is Nov. 3. None of the positions are partisan, so everyone can vote in the primary.