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Palm Bay City Council to require background checks for applicants to fill Pete Filiberto’s former seat

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The Palm Bay City Council held a special meeting last night to pass a resolution officially vacating the seat of former Councilman Pete Filiberto who resigned last week following his felony arrest.

The second item on the agenda was to codify the process in which the council will use to appoint an applicant to fill the position.

According to the new ordinance, the applications will be open for 30 days. According to the City Charter, the Council has 60 days from the date of the vacancy to appoint someone to the position, or it will go to a special election.

This is the first time in the City’s history that the Council will be appointing a member to its body. In light of the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Filiberto which included felony drug charges, his at least 3rd DUI, and other charges, they decided to require a criminal background check for anyone who applies for the position.

Citizens normally have time to vet candidates themselves during the campaigning process, however, due to the short timeline to make this appointment, and go through potentially dozens of applicants, they felt it was prudent to require the background checks.

The fee for the background check is $45, and would have to be paid by the applicant, much like normal candidates pay a qualification fee when running for office. The background check however, will not be as extensive as the one that city employees go through, because of time limitations. Those checks typically take longer than 30 days. In order to remedy that, the background check being conducted will only cover checks for the state of Florida.

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The Council voted 3-1 in favor of the checks. Councilman Foster was the only dissenting vote. He stated he did not feel that they should hold applicants to a higher standard than a normal candidate.

Those wishing to apply for the position can access the application through the City’s website under “elections” or may go to the City Clerks office at City Hall and pick one up there.

Applicants will be ranked by each individual councilmember on a scale of 1 to however many applicants there are. The applicant with the lowest score will be appointed.

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