Procrastination, slow elevators equal epic fail for Sarasota School Board candidate

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One universal truth when it comes to the bureaucracy of public office in Florida: details matter.

Case in point is Republican Geoffrey Fisher, who was (until recently) seeking a seat on the Sarasota School Board.

Jeremy Wallace of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports on the “inglorious end” of Fisher’s run, to a certain extent due to unusual consequences — a combination of procrastination and a very slow elevator.

Fisher knew he had an entire week to file paperwork to qualify for the School Board District 1 race. The deadline for qualifying in most local state contests ended Friday at noon.

Nevertheless, Fisher waited until Friday morning to go to his bank and over to the Sarasota Supervisor of Elections office to file the qualification paperwork.

That was when Murphy’s Law—what can go wrong will go wrong—took hold.

First, there was an unexpected delay at the bank. Then, traffic held Fisher back even further.

When Fisher made it to downtown Sarasota’s Terrace Building Sarasota to file his papers, he only has minutes to spare.

Unfortunately, that was not enough.

One of the three elevators in the 1920s-era building was out of service.

Fisher later recounted that it was at that point he started to get nervous.

Eventually, the elevator got him to the seventh floor; as the elevator doors opened, Fisher noticed the time.

As (bad) luck would have it, it was noon.

 “I thought I made it, but they said they couldn’t accept it,” Fisher told Wallace. “They told me their computer said it was 12:01 and qualifying was over.

“I thought they were joking.”

Although Fisher explained his situation, the argument fell on deaf ears. The office would not take his paperwork, nor the $1,500 qualifying check.

In true bureaucratic form, assistant Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner pointed out that candidates had all week to qualify. State law unmistakably says that candidates must file by noon, and not a minute later — no exceptions.

Fisher says he will plead his case to the State Division of Elections; if he should fail, he won’t soon forget those Terrace Building elevators.

“Had the elevator come on the button,” he said.

Fisher may not have made the list, but four other District 1 candidates did—former teacher Velton Hodges; Ken Marsh, a past Sarasota County schools’ long-range planning director; teacher Paul Schafer and insurance company employee Bridget Ziegler.

They are all qualified to run for a four-year long job that pays $37,000 annually.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.