There was little doubt by Historic City News reporters that former St Augustine city commissioner Donald A Crichlow had the advantage over the dozen or so other applicants who expressed interest in being considered to fill the remaining two years of resigned commissioner Bill Leary — and, last night, it was only a matter of minutes before the decision was finalized.
For eight years, Crichlow, who turns 69-years-old in April, held Seat 4 before Leary was elected in 2010 — Leary was supported by Crichlow in that election, and announced early that he would not seek re-election. Leary faced opposition in that contest from Historic City News editor, Michael Gold.
Crichlow was also credited with giving Leary his early start in city affairs; only one-year after moving to St Augustine, Crichlow put the former Washington, DC bureaucrat up for appointment to the Planning and Zoning Board — a breeding ground for new commissioners.
On Sunday, a local newspaper had named three candidates, including Crichlow, who could match what writer Peter Guinta called “off-the-cuff guidelines” defined by Vice-Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline and former Vice-Mayor Leanna Freeman in discussion of Leary’s replacement during the February 4th meeting.
Freeman said it “makes sense” for the board to choose a former commissioner or someone who ran for a commission seat. Sikes-Kline also suggested that a former commissioner would be a good choice. Besides Crichlow, Guinta identified City Commission candidates Deltra Long and Bruce Maguire as meeting both women’s criteria.
Historic City News published the actual correspondence between the City Manager’s office and each of ten prospective replacements last week; but, by that time, at least one hopeful, who spoke with Mayor Boles during a public function, was told that Crichlow was his choice Seat 4.
Prior to the meeting, Ed Slavin, a regular observer in commission meetings, told Historic City News that he favored Deltra Long; expressing those same feelings to City Manager John Regan, and others. Former city commissioner and vice-mayor Errol D. Jones, who was also in attendance, told Historic City News that he was confident that the remaining commissioners would select Crichlow.
Don Crichlow is a St Augustine architect who resides on the south end of St George Street near the Maria Sanchez Lake. He is a member of one of the city’s many Minorcan families that trace their roots in St Augustine to the late 16th century.
With almost unexpected unity, Crichlow was named and appointed by unanimous vote of the four remaining commissioners. No other candidates who had requested consideration were invited to speak or even discussed by the commissioners.
Crichlow has his supporters in the community; however, during his years on the commission, he also accumulated some detractors. Acting as the architect for a well-financed group of investors, Crichlow failed to persuade fellow commission to approve his interpretation of the Bishop’s Building — proposed to be built on the corner of Cathedral Place and St George Street while Crichlow was still in office.