Historic City News local reporters watched this morning as the remaining four members of the St Augustine City Commission took less than 30-minutes to unanimously decide that 62-year-old Tracy Wilson Upchurch will serve out the remaining term of former mayor, Nancy Shaver, which ends on December 7, 2020.
Shaver announced publicly at the conclusion of last Monday’s regular meeting that cancer has reappeared, this time in her left breast; but she caught it very early and had a plan of action for her treatment. Then, after most of the audience had gone home, but before she left the commission chambers, Shaver suffered a stroke. She was transported to Flagler Hospital and then by air ambulance to Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville. She announced her resignation on Thursday, February 28, 2019.
City Manager John Regan had compiled a list of some 20 or more names of individuals he thought were qualified, who had volunteered themselves, or that others had recommended to fill the vacant seat. The existence of the list drew some criticism from public speakers who had not been afforded an opportunity to know who was under consideration.
Ronald Rawls of Gainesville, today wearing his pastoral collar and speaking for St Paul’s AME Church, reiterated his remarks from the last meeting if the city did not act to appoint someone to his liking. He was unapologetic for the tone of his last remarks and did not mention former mayor Shaver who was on the receiving end of almost all his threats.
From 1988-1992, Upchurch served on the St Augustine City Commission. He was mayor for two-years from 1990-1992. For four years, from 1992-1996, Upchurch was elected to serve as a member of the Florida House of Representatives for the local district.
Upchurch becomes mayor upon taking the oath of office which must be done within 10 days of the vacancy occurring, which would be March 10th.
The new mayor is employed as an Associate Professor of Law and History at Flagler College and a Director of the Frank D. Upchurch, Sr. Endowed Law Program. Upchurch and his wife reside on Old Quarry Road in Saint Augustine.
- Currently, Upchurch serves as chair of the Faculty Senate, a member of the Gargoyle Student Newspaper Advisory Board, and as an advisor of Omicron Delta Kappa, the college’s leadership organization. Having spent 25 years as a practicing attorney, Upchurch is also the Director of the Law Program at Flagler and was voted “Faculty Member of the Year” by the student body in 2015, among other honors and recognitions. Upchurch earned an MA degree in American History from the University of North Florida and teaches American history courses at Flagler. His research focuses on the American Civil War and Southern Unionists in Florida.