Miami Springs City Councilman Dan Espino is planning to run for the school board. But once he qualifies, he will be forced to immediately resign from city office.
Espino, who works as an attorney with Hialeah-based Kravitz & Talamo and has served on the city council since 2009, indicated he must file his resignation at a specified time prior to qualifying.
Florida’s “resign-to-run law” prohibits an elected official from qualifying as a candidate for other public office if the terms overlap.
A resignation must be submitted in writing at least 10 days prior to the first day of qualifying for the office the person intends to seek, according to the Florida Statutes. The qualifying dates for 2012 school board candidates run from June 4 through June 8, but not earlier than May 21, according to the elections department.
Espino, who said he is gathering signatures and filling out forms, already is listed as a District 5 candidate, according to the Miami-Dade County Elections Department Web site.
Renier Diaz de la Portilla, the current District 5 Board Member, has filed to run for the Florida House of Representatives. Diaz de la Portilla already has a campaign office and is accepting contributions in his bid for State House District 103, according to his Web site. He even has a local endorsement, Miami Springs Mayor Zavier Garcia.
If Espino resigns, his council vacancy would be filled in one of the following ways, according to City Attorney Jan Seiden, who pointed to Section 3.07 (3) of the Miami Springs Code.
A. If there is less than 120 days remaining in the unexpired term or if there is less than 120 days before the next regular city election, the council, by a majority vote of the remaining members shall choose a successor to serve until the newly elected council member or mayor is qualified;
B. If there is more than 120 days remaining in the unexpired term and no regular city election is scheduled within 120 days, the council shall fill the vacancy on an interim basis as provided in (a) and shall call a special election to be held within 30 days following the first regular meeting of the council after the occurrence of the vacancy;
C. A majority of the remaining members of the council shall call an election as provided in (b) notwithstanding that the expiration of the 30-day period provided for in this section occurs within 120 days of the next regular election.
A resignation by Espino, based on election date projections, would leave more than 120 days left in his term.
Since no regular city election is scheduled within that 120-day time frame, the city would “fill the vacancy” on an interim basis by a majority vote of the remaining council members. Then within 30 days, the city would hold a special election to fill the seat for the remaining unexpired term.
“I am running for Miami-Dade County School Board to ensure that our children, today and going forward, have every opportunity and resource to succeed in an ever-competitive global society,” said Espino, who filed the paperwork on Feb. 16 to run for a school board seat in District 5.
Each member of the school board must be a qualified elector of the district in which he or she serves, according to an official with District 5, which includes 34 schools in a wide area covering parts of Hialeah, Doral and Miami and includes Miami Springs Elementary, Middle and High schools.
The board sets district policy for public schools within the county.
At age 26, Espino, was the youngest official ever elected in Miami Springs. Before being elected to office, he served on the city’s Code Review and Zoning and Planning boards.
In his quest for a school board slot, Espino said he wants to equip teachers with “innovative technologies and methods that increase the ways students learn and fighting for flexible funding that meets our classrooms' needs, as well as instilling in children appropriate workforce skills and civic responsibility.”
Espino added that he passed a civics initiative last year, and has been a fervent supporter of the Curtiss Mansion.
The primary elections for the school board take place on Aug. 14. If a run-off election is necessary, though unlikely, it would take place on Nov. 6.
Within the next two weeks, Espino plans to officially announce his campaign kickoff and issue a press release.
“As it was for my family, education, whether of a trade or profession, is the key to our children’s future success and the betterment of our entire community,” said Espino.
“I will further serve the community that has offered me so much over the course of my life.”