BARTOW (FOX 13) - Lakeland city commissioners just took one of their quickest votes ever.
They replaced former Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn, who resigned after being arrested for shooting a man he says was shoplifting from his Army surplus store.
Dunn says he was defending himself against a man with a stolen hatchet. Prosecutors say the suspected thief was actually trying to get away from Dunn.
The former commissioner bonded out of the Polk County Jail Thursday evening, where media sorts wanted to talk with him about his case. When confronted, however, Dunn took off running, with reporters and photographers close behind.
Meanwhile, the business of governing the city continues. Amid the turmoil, commissioners knew they had to act quickly and replace Dunn.
One commissioner said, “I think we need someone to hit the ground running… No one more qualified than the person who held that seat prior.”
That person is former commissioner Don Selvage, who was voted in five to one Friday.
“Commissioner Selvage, who we selected, is one of those gentlemen, southern gentlemen of the city who has a passion to serve well and understands the needs and is always willing to do things on a moment’s notice, that need to be done,” Mayor Bill Mutz said.
Selvage says the appointment is a bit of a surprise.
“This is under tragic circumstances. I didn’t apply for the position, but I am honored that the commission has enough confidence in me to ask me to come back and serve for a couple of months,” Commissioner Selvage said.
Selvage will have the job until January. Then the city will hold a special election to fill the position long-term.
Selvage says he is not going to run for a seat on the commission again. Mayor Mutz said eight or nine other people have expressed interest and are planning to get into the race.