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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In Kenneth City, a stealth council candidate?



KENNETH CITY - Anyone who follows municipal elections knows the drill. Folks qualify to run for City or Town Council and suddenly they start attending meetings to show their interest in the municipal government. Many times, these people have never been seen at a council meeting and, if they lose the election, they're never seen again.

The tactic could be seen as a bit, er, hypocritical but not doing it can cause comment. Take last week's Kenneth City council meeting, for example. At the end of the session, resident Robert Howell stepped up to the microphone to say that he's been attending council meetings and workshops for about a year now. He then referred to the March 9 election, in which four candidates are running for two seats.

"We have two people, I guess,who are running for City Council," Howell asked."Are they here this evening?"

VIce Mayor Ron Sneed, who was conducting the meeting in the absence of Mayor Pro Tem Teresa Zemaitis, said, "We actually have four people running."

Howell: "Well, two of them I know." He was referring to incumbents Wanda Dudley and Al Carrier, who are running for reelection.

"I don't know who (the other two) are," Howell said.

Sneed asked candidate Ron Neuberger, a Lealman firefighter, to stand up. Sneed added, "The other person's not here this evening."

Howell: "Oh, the other person is not here this evening?" He wondered if the fourth candidate, Joanne DeSimone, was usually at council meetings, but Sneed said he didn't know. DeSimone, like Neuberger, is making her first run for the Kenneth City Town Council.

The Kenneth City council consists of a mayor and four council members. It is a council-as-manager form of government. Each council member is responsible for day-to-day operation of one town department. Members serve two-year terms. The council holds at least one meeting and, generally, one workshop a month. Council members are paid $300 a month. The two top vote-getters in the March 9 election will go into office. The last day to register to vote in the election is Feb, 8.

-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:23pm]


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