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With a commissioner resigning from his post in January, the city of Oakland Park is accepting applications for a new member of the dais. 

Applications open Feb. 6 at Noon and close on Feb. 15 at Noon; they will be available on the city website soon. Applicants must qualify as a candidate, which includes having been a resident of Oakland Park for at least six months.

Commissioner Matthew Sparks tendered his resignation on Jan. 9, as he and his family would be moving out of state. His last day was Jan. 22. The commission agreed to appoint a new member to the commission and host a special election in March 2024. According to city documents, a special election would cost approximately $74,415.

They decided against a special election this March; candidates would have had to qualify by Jan. 23.

During the Wednesday evening commission meeting, the remaining four commissioners reviewed 10 questions that Commissioner Tim Lonergan drafted for candidates; they approved all but three.

The appointment will be made during the March 1 regular commission meeting and the new commissioner will be sworn in and attend their first meeting on March 15.

Lonergan shared his disapproval of the appointment process, saying he felt there should have been an election.

“I think a wrong decision was made by the majority of the commission when the decision was made,” he said. “I believe that the spirit of the character guided us to do a special election … This should be an election, not a selection.”

He suggested a special meeting for each candidate to do a presentation and answer questions from the commission, then make a selection of the top three for the regular meeting. Mayor Aisha Gordon said she wasn’t “looking to complicate anything” or deter people from running.

“Whenever you started, whether it was 15 years ago or two years ago, we all had to start somewhere. I’m not looking to make this complicated,” she said.

Oakland Park is no stranger to appointments. In 2015, former Commissioner Shari McCartney resigned due to family reasons, which led to the appointment of Michael Carn, who would end up serving as mayor of the city. He also had a short run for Florida House Seat 94, when FL Rep. Bobby B. DuBose resigned in his efforts for a seat in the U.S. Congress.

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