After winning re-election as Sanford Mayor in 2018, Jeff Triplett is calling it quits to run for Seminole Property Tax Appraiser.
"This morning, in accordance with Florida election regulations, I resigned my position as Mayor of the City of Sanford," wrote Triplett in a letter sent to City Clerk Tracy Houchin on Monday. "This was done in concert with my opening of a campaign account, and qualifying to seek the office of the Property Appraiser of Seminole County."
The resignation announcement was a surprise to city officials, and a council meeting will be held Monday night, led by Vice Mayor Art Woodruff, to address the appointment of a new mayor – as Triplett's announcement came after the filing date for voters to choose a replacement. The four remaining commissioners have until July 8 to appoint an acting mayor.A senior vice president at United Legacy Bank when he was first elected, Triplett is currently owner of JCT Strategies, a role he's had in addition to the part-time mayoral role. Triplett was first elected in 2010 and began his first term in 2011, the year before the shooting death of unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman.
Martin's killing revealed deep racial tensions in Sanford, with many residents saying Triplett and other city leaders failed to apply enough pressure to the police force to seek justice for the killing.
Following Martin's killing, in March of 2012, Rev. Al Sharpton led a rally of approximately 10,000 people in downtown Sanford, calling for accountability. Triplett had been invited to speak on behalf of Sanford, but was booed off the stage. Then-Congresswoman Corrine Brown told the crowd that Triplett supported the ongoing Justice Department investigation and invited him back on stage, where he received polite applause.
At a later city council meeting, Triplett listened to speaker after speaker condemning his leadership, later saying the experience jaded him.
"He is tired," reported the Reuters News Service after the council meeting. "And hoping to return to his bank job next week."
Believing Zimmerman acted in self-defense, a Seminole County jury unanimously acquitted Zimmerman in 2013.
Triplett now faces fellow Republican incumbent David Johnson in the contest for the county role.
"It has been a true honor to serve the citizens of the wonderful city in this capacity," Triplett said in his resignation later. "My opponent is a good man, who I consider a friend. Our Team is just convinced that his being in the office for over 30 years creates an opportunity, for new energy and ideas."
Triplett's page on the Sanford city website appears to be offline on Monday.
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