One of the oddest chapters in Crystal River politics took an abrupt turn when Councilman Ken Frink announced he was dropping out of a March Special Election and instead running for Citrus County School Board.
Frink notified Citrus County Supervisor of Elections Maureen “Mo” Baird to remove his name from the March 19 City Council ballot.
The City Council appointed Frink, the former City Manager, in August to the post vacated by the death of Councilman Pat Fitzpatrick. The appointment was good until the March Special Election. The winner then will serve until the November 2024 election.
Frink’s decision means lone opponent Mindi Hastings will be elected to the seat automatically, as ballot qualifying has passed.
The city hired Frink, a Crystal River High School graduate and former Citrus County assistant administrator, as City Manager in 2020. He and Cindi Guy began dating a year later and soon were an item in Crystal River.
The City Attorney told them no conflict existed — unless they were married.
They became engaged this year and exchanged vows Aug. 4 in a Caribbean ceremony officiated by Citrus County Chamber CEO Josh Wooten.
While the initial plan was for Cindi Frink to resign the Council seat, Ken Frink instead left his $110,000-a-year job.
Some citizens questioned the appropriateness of Ken and Cindi Frink serving together on the five-member City Council. Hastings, who had applied for the vacancy as well, was sure to raise the issue during the special election campaign.
Ken Frink, a civil engineer, said he requested the Council appointment following Fitzpatrick’s death to help usher in a new City Manager. The Council eventually hired Doug Baber.
Frink said after qualifying for the special March ballot, he began having doubts whether he wanted to continue the City Council run.
“While I initially put my name in the hat for this short-term election, I have decided, in the best interest of all, to withdraw from the City Council race,” he said. “My commitment to the City Council and Crystal River residents remains steadfast as I contribute to collaborate with the new city manager for a seamless transition.”
He instead turned his attention to School Board District 2, where six-term incumbent Ginger Bryant is not seeking re-election. The race had already attracted three candidates before Frink’s announcement.
“This decision, carefully considered, aligns with my lifelong commitment of public service,” he said. “The exemplary commitment of our school board in fostering a culture of decorum, respect, and selflessness, especially in championing the well-being of our children, has always inspired me.”