Manuel's Job Grows Popular: 10 Now Want It; but the Governor Has No Immediate Plans to Replace the Suspended Commissioner

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTINA ABEL

Even though Gov. Charlie Crist said he has no plans to appoint an interim replacement for suspended St. Johns County Commissioner Tom Manuel, more people are filing applications for the seat.

Ten people have submitted applications to the Governor's Office to fill in for Manuel, of Ponte Vedra Beach, and the county's Republican Party has interviewed three of them.

Becky Reichenberg, the state committeewoman for the Republican Party, said three of the 10 applicants contacted her to set up interviews. She said party officials interviewed the three, but haven't been contacted by any others. She said she contacted the Governor's Office to pass on their opinions about the interviewed candidates.

The three who have been interviewed are Cheryl Robitzsch, a civil engineer who lives in the Palencia area; Phillip Mays, a Marsh Landing resident and owner and operator of a recreation facilities company; and Henry Green, president of a gift importing wholesaler who lives in St. Augustine.

"They're all qualified. I enjoyed interviewing them," Reichenberg said. She wouldn't comment on any of the individual candidates, saying she doesn't know what the Governor's Office plans to do.

Manuel was recently indicted on two counts of bribery by a grand jury. He's set to go to trial next month. …