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2 disqualified from Vero Council race; 4 candidates left

Photo: City Clerk Tammy Bursick, Ass't City Attorney Kira Honse, Ass't City Clerk, Sherri Philo, with candidates Brian Heady and Linda Hillman. Candidate Tony Young (not pictured) was also present.

Two of the six people who filed to run for Vero Beach City Council were disqualified Tuesday, leaving four candidates competing for the  three seats. But only one seat is now likely to change in November, as two popular incumbents are on the ballot. 

Vice Mayor Lange Sykes, the other incumbent, did not file for re-election after serving just one term. On the Nov. 6 ballot will be incumbents Tony Young and Laura Moss, plus newcomers Robert McCabe and Robert Brackett. 

Former councilman Brian Heady and newcomer Linda Hillman filed incomplete paperwork and on Tuesday afternoon were deemed unqualified by the City of Vero Beach.

On the final page of the residency certification, Hillman neither printed her name nor signed her name attesting to her residency, and Heady printed his name but then did not sign on the line designated for candidate signature. After a city voter pointed out that signatures were missing from both Heady and Hillman’s scanned qualifying papers posted by City Clerk Tammy Bursick on the city website, where all elections documents and financial reports are posted for the public, City Manager Jim O’Connor asked City Attorney Wayne Coment’s office to review the paperwork and to opine. 

Assistant City Attorney Kira Honse wrote a memo laying out the rules in the city charter and declaring “Linda Hillman and Brian Heady did not qualify for the election.” 

Supervisor of Elections Leslie Swan said the ballot had already been sent to the printer, but that she was working to have Heady and Hillman’s names removed. If they remained on the ballot, a notice would have had to go out with every absentee, early and election day ballot explaining that Heady and Hillman were no longer in the election. 

Sykes said he’s backing three of the four people that are now running for seats on the council. “I’ll be supporting Robbie Brackett, Laura Moss and Tony Young. I know they will make sure the electric sale is completed should the closing date extend past the Nov. 6 election,” Sykes said on Monday.