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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Fort Walton Beach, FL

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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percent The Commercial Truck

Insurance Agency in Fort Walton Beach, FL You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Fort Walton Beach, FL

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Fort Walton Beach, FL

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

chart The Commercial Truck

Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Fort Walton Beach, FL

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Fort Walton Beach, FL

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Fort Walton Beach, FL

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Fort Walton Beach, FL

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

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 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Fort Walton Beach, FL

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Fort Walton Beach, FL phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Fort Walton Beach, FL phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Fort Walton Beach, FL phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Fort Walton Beach, FL that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Fort Walton Beach, FL

Latest News in Fort Walton Beach, FL

New principals appointed at Fort Walton Beach High School and Pryor Middle School

The Okaloosa County School Board appointed Jason McClelland as the new principal at Pryor Middle School and Lindsey Smith as the new principal at Fort Walton Beach High School.McClelland has worked in the Okaloosa County School System since 2005. He was first hired to teach science in grades 6-8 at Bruner Middle School. In 2008, then-Principal John Spolski appointed McClelland as the Dean of Students at Bruner, starting his journey into administration.He became assistant principal at Destin Mid...

The Okaloosa County School Board appointed Jason McClelland as the new principal at Pryor Middle School and Lindsey Smith as the new principal at Fort Walton Beach High School.

McClelland has worked in the Okaloosa County School System since 2005. He was first hired to teach science in grades 6-8 at Bruner Middle School. In 2008, then-Principal John Spolski appointed McClelland as the Dean of Students at Bruner, starting his journey into administration.

He became assistant principal at Destin Middle School in 2011, then moved to Niceville High School as assistant principal in 2013. In 2015, McClellan got his first principal job leading Mary Esther Elementary.

McClelland thanked Chambers, the board and his family for their support over the years.

“I’m excited to begin working with the Pryor Middle School teachers, staff, students, parents and community. I know I have big shoes to fill but I do look forward to that task,” McClelland said. “It has been an amazing seven and a half years at Mary Esther Elementary. I’ve learned so much from each one of them there. So I want to thank my Thunderbird family for allowing me to be part of something special. I’ll never forget the memories we made together.”

He went on to also thank former principals he worked under for influencing him as a leader, along with his wife and daughter for their support.

Current Pryor Principal Brooke Barron has accepted a role at the District level where she will be the Director 1 of Okaloosa County’s schools Kindergarten through 12th Grade Curriculum and Instruction. She begins in January.

New principal at The Fort

In introducing Mrs. Lindsey Smith, Chambers noted the very large turnout of family, friends, and students in attendance for their new principal.

Mr. Smith is a graduate of the Okaloosa County School District. Her family settled in the area in 1995, where she attended Lewis Middle School, Meigs Middle School and graduated Choctawhatchee High School.

Smith completed a master’s degree in educational leadership at University of West Florida in 2011. Her first administrative role came as assistant principal at Bruner Middle School.

She returned to Fort Walton Beach High School as an assistant principal in 2017 before becoming principal at Lewis School in January 2021.

Smith thanked the board and Chambers for their confidence in appointing her.

“I am grateful for the leaders who have helped to shape who I have become as an educator. Many of those people are in this room today, and I am thankful for what they saw in me and for their unwavering encouragement,” she said.

She also thanked the staff at Lewis School, her family, husband Chester Smith and their two children for supporting her along the way.

“I know it isn’t lost on anyone that this is a homecoming. My Viking family and community have been with me from the beginning as a first-year teacher (and) as I navigated into administration and have helped to mold the leader that I am now,” Smith said. “I am thrilled to be returning to The Fort and I’m excited to begin this new chapter. Go Vikings!”

Current FWBHS Principal John Spolski has accepted a new position at the District level where he will be an Assistant Superintendent.

Stake President Kimball presides over bi-annual conference for Latter-day Saints

The Destin LogOn Aug. 20 at the Destin-Ft. Walton Beach Convention Center the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held their bi-annual conference for the Fort Walton Beach Florida Stake. This conference was the 8-month mark for newly appointed Stake President, Destin local, Spencer Kimball who was called to preside last January.Kimball is an executive coach, who spends the majority of his professional life motivating people from all over the world to improve their lives in a balanced way. He has been applying his profes...

The Destin Log

On Aug. 20 at the Destin-Ft. Walton Beach Convention Center the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held their bi-annual conference for the Fort Walton Beach Florida Stake. This conference was the 8-month mark for newly appointed Stake President, Destin local, Spencer Kimball who was called to preside last January.

Kimball is an executive coach, who spends the majority of his professional life motivating people from all over the world to improve their lives in a balanced way. He has been applying his professional and personal development skills on a more local level as the newly appointed Stake President for the Fort Walton Beach Florida Stake.

Kimball will preside for the next decade over 3,500 church members comprising 10 congregations and five different church meeting houses. Assisting him will be Counselors President Thomas Wilson and President Brooke Hansen. (Appointments to serve in specific positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints come through inspiration and by appointment from church leadership, not from profession, promotion, or campaigning.)

Raised primarily in Cedartown, Georgia, Kimball spent his early teen years in Sweden where his father served as Mission President for the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He returned to Sweden at the age of 19 to serve as a full-time missionary, spending two years serving his church and his Savior Jesus Christ seven days a week.

After returning from missionary service, Kimball attended Southern Virginia University where he was selected as an All-American in basketball, graduated with a degree in legal studies, and most importantly met his wife, Nancy.

Kimball has a deep well of experience and talent in leadership and negotiation that he has used to build businesses in real estate, transportation, and executive coaching.

In 2017, Kimball attended a leadership seminar in California hosted by former New England Patriots defensive end, Setema Gali. The event proved to be transformative and put him on his current path to building the company with Gali in Destin.

"I sat there in that room watching what he was doing, and the voice told me, ‘You need to be doing this and you need to be doing it with him,’" he said.

Kimball faces his new role head-on, aiming to reframe faith in Jesus Christ in a time of general decline in religious belief.

"My goal is to shift the culture from obligation to active engagement. From people coming because they’re ‘supposed to’ to people coming because they want to. I want to create an environment where church is attended because people love the Lord and because coming helps them to be happy," he said.

Kimball’s love of family is evident in his dedication to his wife Nancy and their three children, Will (the calming influence), Anna (the sunshine), and Macie (the family CEO.)

As he undertakes his new role, Kimball appreciates the groundwork laid by Dr. Michael Roberts, his predecessor as Stake President who served for the previous nine years of which Kimball served as his counselor for four years. Kimball recognizes and thanks Dr. Roberts for the sacrifices made during his time in office and for the personal friendship and brotherhood they have created.

Kimball looks to an optimistic future for the Fort Walton Beach Stake, acknowledging the gifted and spiritually driven community.

"There is so much goodness in the hearts of the people here. Honestly, it can be intimidating because I look around and see so many people, I look up to who I think could do a better job in this calling than me. My hope is simply that when my tenure is over, people can say they felt closer to Christ," he said.

Veterans Day events 2023: Guide to what's happening in Okaloosa and Walton counties

With Veterans Day quickly approaching, here is a list of all the scheduled events that will be held this weekend in Okaloosa and Walton counties.CrestviewThe annual Crestview Veterans Day Parade will be held Saturday, Nov. 11, at 9 a.m.The event will be hosted by the Main Street Crestview Association. The parade will begin at Hub City Smokehouse and go north past the courthouse. A ceremony at the Okaloosa County Veteran's Memorial will occur following the parade at 11 a.m.Fort Walton Beach...

With Veterans Day quickly approaching, here is a list of all the scheduled events that will be held this weekend in Okaloosa and Walton counties.

Crestview

The annual Crestview Veterans Day Parade will be held Saturday, Nov. 11, at 9 a.m.

The event will be hosted by the Main Street Crestview Association. The parade will begin at Hub City Smokehouse and go north past the courthouse. A ceremony at the Okaloosa County Veteran's Memorial will occur following the parade at 11 a.m.

Fort Walton Beach

The Veterans Tribute Tower Committee will host a Veterans Day Ceremony at Beal Memorial Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Commander of the 96th Test Wing Brig. Gen. Jeffrey T. Geraghty. The event will also recognize Remembrance Day and will see British Royal Navy Cmdr. Chris Wilcox and members of his command and their families stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in attendance, as well.

Attendees are encouraged to bring flowers to the event to place in the Community Wreath. In case of poor weather, the ceremony will be held at American Legion Post 235, located at 105 Hollywood Blvd., at 11 a.m.

Mary Esther

The city of Mary Esther will host its annual Veterans Day celebrations near the Santa Rosa Mall on Saturday, Nov. 11. Activities will begin at 11 a.m. with the parade beginning at 1 p.m.

The parade route will begin on Page Bacon Road, go south on Mary Esther Boulevard and end on Hollywood Boulevard. The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office will reroute traffic from 12-2 p.m.

Live music will be provided by KROCK 100.3 and OMNI Broadcasting.

Veterans Day:Emerald Coast Exchange Club begins weeklong Veterans Tribute at Air Force Armament Museum

Destin

AMVETS Post #29 will host its sixth annual BBQ Cook-off at Immanuel Anglican Church on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. To participate, attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items such as canned goods, dry goods and diapers. After the event, AMVETS Post #29 will host its Veterans Day celebration at 106 Benning Drive #2 from 2-4 p.m.

HarborWalk Village will host a Veterans Day Ceremony on the Main Stage from 4-5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11. The ceremony will include a performance by Reid with Autism Sings, a presentation of colors, distinguished speakers and a veteran-owned vendor market.

DeFuniak Springs

The city of DeFuniak Springs will host the 18th annual Veterans Day Program at the Chautauqua Building from 8-11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Live music will be provided from Jim Hubbard.

Freeport

The city of Freeport and the town's planter society will host their annual Veterans Day Celebration on Friday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. at the Freeport Veterans Memorial at Casey Park

Larry Patrick has resigned from Fort Walton Beach City Council due to health concerns

FORT WALTON BEACH — During Tuesday's Fort Walton Beach City Council meeting, at the beginning of the public comment section, family members representing Councilman Larry Patrick addressed members in attendance and announced that Patrick will be resigning from the council effective immediately."My dad's absence is due to recent health issues," said Jeremiah Patrick. "We ask that you keep him in your t...

FORT WALTON BEACH — During Tuesday's Fort Walton Beach City Council meeting, at the beginning of the public comment section, family members representing Councilman Larry Patrick addressed members in attendance and announced that Patrick will be resigning from the council effective immediately.

"My dad's absence is due to recent health issues," said Jeremiah Patrick. "We ask that you keep him in your thoughts and prayers during his recovery. We also ask that our privacy is respected during this time of healing."

Patrick has been in the public eye recently due to allegations from the group Voice of Fort Walton. The group filed an elections fraud complaint at the beginning of July that claims Patrick does not reside within the Fort Walton Beach city limits.

"It is with much regret that I must resign my seat on our council," Larry Patrick said in a prepared statement. "My resignation is in no matter related to the recent allegations regarding our residency, as I always have been and hope always to be a resident of this great city. My decision is solely based on very recent health-related events that preclude my participation at the level needed to perform the office to which I was elected.

"I do hope that once my health is restored, that I can begin to become an active participant in the ongoing effort to provide our citizens with a formal government that is representative of the majority, is fiscally conservative, and provides a great quality of life for our residents," he continued. "I will forever be thankful for the many friends and supporters who, once again, entrusted me with the opportunity to serve on this council.

"I am also very appreciative of the cooperation and assistance that the staff has provided to me during my brief tenure. I have also greatly enjoyed the camaraderie with my fellow council members," Patrick concluded.

What's next?

According to City Manager Jeff Peters, nominations to fill the vacated seat will be accepted during the next two council meetings, scheduled for Aug. 22 and Sept. 12. The remaining council members can nominate any current city resident.

The council will decide on the new member on Sept. 26. The new member will hold the seat for the next two years until the next general election.

John Mead selected to fill the vacant seat on the Fort Walton Beach Council

FORT WALTON BEACH — In a 5-1 vote Tuesday, John Mead was selected to fill the seat left vacant by the sudden resignation of Larry Patrick from the Fort Walton Beach City Council. The selection comes after almost two months of...

FORT WALTON BEACH — In a 5-1 vote Tuesday, John Mead was selected to fill the seat left vacant by the sudden resignation of Larry Patrick from the Fort Walton Beach City Council. The selection comes after almost two months of heated exchanges during council meetings at City Hall.

With the nomination, Mead will now serve on the council for the next 16 months until the next general election, where he can run for election.

Here’s what we know.

A controversial beginning

At the beginning of Tuesday’s council meeting, Councilman Travis Smith proposed that the nominee selected to fill the vacant seat be seated immediately instead of waiting for the next meeting.

Nominees John Mead, Jeff Pendleton and Sharon Trenary said that they would be comfortable starting immediately, while Debi Riley and Brandon Bishop said they would prefer to start at the next meeting so they could familiarize themselves with the issues being discussed, including the upcoming final public hearing on the city's budget.

According to Robert's Rules of Order, when there is a motion and a second, the issue is then open for public comment. No such discussion took place after Smith's motion.

Former council member Amy Jamieson told the Northwest Florida Daily News that, in her opinion, the council has already come to a decision on who would fill that vacant seat.

"The whole process in my opinion is wrong," said former councilman Mike Minnick at the beginning of the public comment section of the meeting. "You should have had public comments first."

The voting process

Each council member had the opportunity to vote for their first three picks for the nomination. A first-place vote received three points, a second-place vote received two points, and a third-place vote received one point.

After the first round of voting:

Mead, Riley and Hartman moved on to the second round of voting. Mead received five votes, while Riley received one. That singular vote was cast by Nic Allegretto, while each council member affiliated with the FWB Watch Group and Councilmember Bryce Jeter voted for Mead.

Public reaction

Before the meeting started at 4 p.m., a "Rally for Riley" hosted by the Okaloosa NAACP was held outside council chambers. About 15 people held signs supporting Riley's nomination.

The public comment section of the meeting came after the second round of voting, which showed Mead would receive the nomination. Supporters of Riley gave their final call to action to the current members to choose Riley for the vacant seat.

Almost all of the public comments in support of Riley echoed the same remarks that previous members of the public have made at the past two meetings.

One of the most impassioned speakers who took to the podium was former councilman Kirby Locklear. Noting that his words would fall on deaf ears if spoken to the council members, he turned around and spoke to residents who were in attendance.

His words to the public were akin to a call to action to remember the injustice some community members feel when they see the lack of representation on the council when the next election cycle returns in 2025.

While Locklear spoke, some council members could be seen smirking while his back was turned to the board.

Mead's reaction

During final thoughts from the council members, new Councilman Mead spoke.

"I'm humbled and very appreciative for the vote of confidence to be up here with everyone," said Mead. "I hope to work with staff as we have done in the past and I hope to be of the best service as I can for the short time I am up here."

Riley's reaction

Before getting to Riley's thoughts, Mayor Dick Rynearson shared his thoughts on the nomination process. He noted that he appreciated Riley's dedication and tenacity throughout the process and said that he believes that he will eventually see Riley as a council member at some point in the future.

For Riley, it seemed that, in her opinion, getting the nomination was an uphill battle from the beginning, even though she has had overwhelming vocal support in the chamber for three consecutive council meetings. Riley's name will be seen in the future, as supporters expect her to run for a council position in the next general election.

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