Almost three months after she narrowly lost a spot on the Oakland Park City Commission, Letitia Newbold was appointed to a vacant seat at the dais.
The four-member commission chose her from a pool of 13 candidates after a seat was vacated by former Commissioner Matthew Sparks in January.
“Even after my loss I continued to stay active, stay out in the community, and stay involved,” Newbold told the commission before she was selected.
A senior intellectual property patent paralegal, Newbold has lived in Oakland Park for 15 years. She said in her application that she would like to see further development in the Westside Corridor, promotion of economic empowerment through community programming, and business grant opportunities. She currently serves as the vice president of the Oakland Park Lakeside Neighborhood, a board member for Eternal Light Ministries, Inc. (where she also is a Sunday School teacher), and a member of the Oakland Park Kiwanis Club, American Legion Post 222 and the NAACP.
During the Nov. 8 general election, residents voted in Commissioners Tim Lonergan and Steve Arnst, both of whom have previously served on the commission, to fill two vacancies. Newbold came in third with only 38 votes behind Arnst. As the commission is at-large, the top votes grant a candidate a win.
Just two months later on Jan. 9, Sparks tendered his resignation due to moving out of state with his family, leaving the commission with an empty seat. His resignation went into effect on Jan. 18; candidates for a special election in March would have had to qualify by Jan. 23.
The commission voted to instead appoint a new member to the commission — Lonergan and Arnst dissented, believing the city charter called for a special election — to serve until March 2024. Thirteen residents applied and spoke before the commission on Feb. 22 with one dropping out and recommending that Newbold be appointed. The commission then narrowed the field down to five candidates.
On March 1, the five had a final chance to speak before the commission and also fielded two questions from Lonergan — he asked each candidate if they believed there should have been a special election. They all said yes, with one calling Sparks’ resignation “selfish.”
Newbold was appointed to the commission and will be sworn in during the March 15 meeting.