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Three apply for seat on Madeira Beach commission

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Three residents seek the open seat on the Madeira Beach commission that was vacated last month when Pat Shontz abruptly resigned in the middle of a meeting.

John E. Douthirt, Joseph Fala and Housh Ghovaee got their applications in by the end of business Friday. The applications were sent to commissioners today. The commissioners will rank the candidates and the one with the lowest number will be appointed at Tuesday’s commission meeting. The winner will fill out the remainder of Shontz’s term, which ends in March.

Douthirt says he has a bachelor’s degree in business from Florida State University and a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Cincinnati. He is president of his condominium association, quartermaster of his Veterans of Foreign Wars unit, and has worked with veterans and their families. He said this has given him experience in developing policies and procedures as well as working with budgets to help keep those organizations in good financial order.

Fala said he attended St. Petersburg College and has had three businesses in John’s Pass. He said he has interests in two retail businesses: Windworks, Inc. and Overhead, Inc. Windworks is a retail store that specializes in items such as kites, wind spinners, wind chimes, signs and flags. Overhead is also a retail business. It specializes in “everything surf, skim, and skate-related.” He said he would make a good commissioner because he has been part of the city for 17 years and has a good grasp of the city’s tourism and business.

Ghovaee has a degree in electrical engineering from Norwich (CT) University, a degree in civil engineering from the University of South Florida and took business administration at St. Petersburg College. He is the owner of Northside Engineering and has served on numerous boards including the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

Whoever is chosen will come onto the commission at a contentious time. A lawsuit has been filed against the city and ethics complaints have been filed over proposals to redevelop two sites at the foot of the bridge that links Madeira Beach to the mainland. Shontz, who came under severe fire from opponents to the proposals, voted in favor of one at a final hearing in mid-June, then resigned and left the meeting before a vote on the second came up. The commission passed both.

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