Editorial Endorsement: City of St Augustine Mayor (Seat 3)

At this moment in time, the retirement of Tracy Wilson Upchurch from his office as Mayor of the City of St Augustine creates opportunities we haven’t seen since long-incumbent mayor Joe Boles was ousted by political newcomer Nancy Shaver in November 2015. We called that election for Shaver and were the only media organization to give her their endorsement.  The “political insiders”, including the St Augustine Record editorial board, said a relatively new resident “couldn’t get elected” against Boles.

Historic City News subscribers are one of the most active communities in St Johns County when Presidential and Mid-term Elections are upon us.  From high school students to senior citizens, all can find some way to volunteer to help the campaigns that share similar values to their own.  The demographics confirm that our readers are almost always “super voters” in that they can be counted on to vote in every election if they can legally obtain a ballot.  They research the candidates.  They do the heavy lifting when there is work to be done.  They get out the vote.

“This year we present for your consideration a man who is the Chief Commercial Officer for a global technology firm focusing on sustainability and smart buildings,” wrote Michael Gold, Executive Editor for Historic City News in St Augustine.  “The mayor of my hometown needs to be free of political baggage and free from political debts so that they can lead their fellow commissioners and constituents in the best direction — even if that direction is not the way we’ve always done it.”

Timothy John Miscovich, Jr., is a resident of South Davis Shores since 2019, and his experiences and education make him well qualified to serve as the next mayor of St Augustine.  Tim is a 31-year-old father, husband, and businessman with ties to St Augustine that extend beyond 10 years ago. 

During his interview last week, we learned that although Tim has been a full-time resident since 2019, for seven years, from 2012-2019, he lived in Europe where he played football (quarterback) before transitioning into his professional career.  Tim told us that beyond athletics, he lived in a world where he was exposed to new ways of thinking and the power of thinking “outside the box”.

Tim says that St Augustine is going down a path he has seen before.  When policymakers and managers sit in positions of local leadership, year after year, without taking advantage of the latest and best practices to avoid damaging decisions, their effectiveness deteriorates.  Then, when they are not held accountable for their actions, there is no incentive for improvement.  The result is rows of bookshelves filled with outdated surveys, research, and recommendations.

Taxpayers are paying twice in St Augustine for years of mismanagement under the current city manager, John Regan, and his former mentor, Bill Harriss.  We asked Tim if St Augustine has a room filled with volumes of “un-acted-on studies” and would that be an example of what he was describing?  He replied that he wasn’t certain because he hasn’t read all of them yet! 

Property owners in the city have paid undisciplined consultants to produce such work during Regan’s time in charge.  But, when the city does not act on the information obtained, taxpayers pay again in the form of lost benefits, higher implementation costs, and other un-insured losses that could have been avoided.

Miscovich faces incumbent commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline.  Kline was elected to her seat on the City Commission in 2008, and again in 2010, and again in 2014, and again in 2018.  On Halloween, she turns 66 years old, and her term has finally drawn to an end.  14 years is a long time to hold an office with a 4-year term.  What she imagines that she can achieve in the next two years that she has not been able to achieve over the past 14 years, we have no idea.

Our Board’s unanimous decision is that politicians are like diapers — they need to be changed often and for the same reasons.  So, for that and many other reasons, we are offering our endorsement for the next mayor of the City of St Augustine to Tim Miscovich.

All City offices are non-partisan. This means that, although the individual candidates hold affiliation with a political party (in this case, both candidates happen to be registered Republicans), all registered voters inside the City of St Augustine, will be able to participate on a ballot where the selections include all the candidates — regardless of the party affiliation of the candidate or the voter.