Bobby Wagner to fill-in for suspended Destin Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell

Tony Judnich
Northwest Florida Daily News

DESTIN — With a 4-2 vote, the City Council on Monday approved appointing Bobby Wagner to the council seat that was left vacant following Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell’s recent suspension from office.

Wagner will be sworn in to office at the Dec. 6 council meeting.

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Ramswell indefinitely on Nov. 4, almost four weeks after she was arrested for official misconduct, battery on a law enforcement officer and a violation of Florida’s Sunshine Law.

Bobby Wagner

Previously:Destin Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell is suspended from office four weeks after felony arrest

More:Ramswell update: City councilwoman attends first meeting since arrest, abstains from voting

Ramswell was arrested Oct. 8 as officials attempted to serve a search warrant to locate messages sent from her private phone to local activist Gene Earley. The conversations were related to a controversial plan to build a docking facility at the Pointe Mezzanine condominium complex on Holiday Isle.

The First Judicial Circuit’s State Attorney's Office alleges Ramswell failed to turn over copies of her conversations to Destin city officials so that it could legally respond to a public records request.

Prebble Ramswell

Wagner has lived in Destin for more than 15 years. He owns Land Air Sea Productions in Destin, is the executive director of the Destin-based nonprofit Trees on the Coast beautification organization and is a board member of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce.

In the city’s special election this past July, Wagner finished in second place to Jim Bagby, who voters chose to serve the remainder of the four-year term of former Councilman Skip Overdier.

Bagby was sworn in to office and will serve until next November. Overdier had resigned from the council at the end of April because he and his wife were moving out of state.

On Monday, three council members supported Councilman Kevin Schmidt’s motion to have Wagner fill the vacancy left by Ramswell.

Bagby and Councilwoman Teresa Hebert voted “no.” Mayor Gary Jarvis, who does not have general voting power on the council, did not vote on Schmidt’s motion.

Bagby and Hebert said they favored giving candidates interested in filling the latest council vacancy time to apply for the position.

“We didn’t really advertise we were looking” for a fill-in council member, Hebert said.

Destin Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell was present at Monday night's meeting but abstained from voting on the Pointe Mezzanine docking facility on Holiday Isle issue when it came before the council. The council voted 4-1 to approve a major development order, major subdivision, marine construction permit and Gulf Shore Drive extension construction agreement related to the project.

More:Bagby takes oath of office, rejoins Destin City Council

Bagby said, “We ought to open up the process” and that he was “not in that big of a hurry” to fill the vacant seat.

But Schmidt said the opportunity for the council to appoint the fill-in member was a part of Monday’s meeting agenda.

Ramswell’s four-year term expires next November. Noting that city officials do not know how long her suspension will last, Councilman Rodney Braden said the appointment of the fill-in council member, which officially starts Dec. 6, could last for 30 days or 11 months.

The city’s next regular election is set for Nov. 8, 2022. The City Council positions are unpaid.