City Council moves to put District 5 seat on November ballot
ST. PETERSBURG -- The City Council tentatively approved an ordinance Thursday that would put the District 5 seat on the November ballot, making it easier for council members to run for mayor in the future.
Council member Jamie Bennett plans to resign the seat on Dec. 30 to run for mayor, in accordance with the state's resign to run law. Under the City Charter, the council must appoint someone to fill the vacancy. City officials passed the ordinance because they said would prefer to let voters pick Bennett's successor.
The council also discussed putting a City Charter amendment on the ballot so that voters could pick the successor of any future council members in odd numbered districts who want to run for mayor.
Council members said voters in odd numbered districts are at a disadvantage because their elections are not held in the same years as the mayoral and even numbered district elections, so if their council members run for mayor they could be left without an elected representative.
A public hearing and second affirmative vote must be held before the ordinance is approved.
The council passed a similar ordinance in 2000, when council member Larry Williams resigned to run for mayor. Williams also represented District 5.
What the council didn't mention Thursday is under the City Charter, District 5 could have an election this year without any legal maneuvering if Bennett resigns by May 30.
-Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer