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The Villages
Saturday, June 15, 2024

Oren Miller officially reclaims former seat on Sumter Commission

Oren Miller officially reclaimed his seat on the Sumter County Commission on Tuesday evening at Eisenhower Recreation Center.

It’s been a long road back for the Village of Sanibel resident who won reinstatement to his former seat by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who issued an Executive Order.

Oren Miller
Oren Miller reclaimed his seat on the Sumter Commission during a workshop session Tuesday at Eisenhower Recreation Center.

There was no real formality in Miller’s return. County Attorney Jennifer Rey simply asked Miller if he would affirm the oath he originally took when he was seated on the commission in November 2020. Miller verbally affirmed his oath.

Miller apparently had some things he wanted to say and tried to launch into a long list he obviously prepared in advance. Miller began speaking, however, Commission Chairman Craig Estep interrupted Miller and said that such statements are customarily held until later in the meeting.

After nearly 90 minutes of reviewing a fire assessment study, as well as other studies, Miller finally had his say.

“I plan on working for the citizens of this county. Period,” Miller said.

He also claimed the county commission’s public participation policy is not Constitutional, said he wanted a tour of the animal services facility with top county official Stephen Kennedy and called for a raise for Sumter County firefighters.

It was also revealed that Miller wants a county-issued iPhone and iPad. Commissioners Jeffrey Bogue and Andy Bilardello also indicated an interest in iPhones, rather than the county-issued android phones.

By the time Miller had his says, the man who previously had been in the District 5 seat now held by Miller, had already taken an early turn at the podium, during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Villager Don Wiley, who was appointed and then won election to Miller’s former and now reclaimed seat, came prepared to speak on the main topic of Tuesday evening’s special workshop – the Sumter County Fire Assessment MSBU Study.

Wiley noted that he has spent a lot of time on the study and offered some definite insight. He indicated solidarity with his former fellow commissioners, who have struggled with this contentious issue for many, many months.

“I wish I was up there to help you, but I am not,” Wiley said.

Both Wiley and Miller are set to appear on the August primary ballot in the GOP contest. It will mark the first time the two men, now bitter rivals, will go head-to-head on a ballot.

Miller won an uphill race in 2020, but was later suspended from his seat by DeSantis after an allegation of perjury. Miller was found guilty of the charge, went to jail for 75 days and then fought back to eventually clear his name and demand his former seat back.

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