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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The saga in Kenneth City finally ends: Zemaitis sworn in



KENNETH CITY -- After months of controversy, a hotly contested election, a bitter lawsuit and frustating settlement negotiations, it took less than 10 minutes to get Teresa Zemaitis seated as mayor of this town.

Well, mayor pro tem.

Zemaitis, 40, won't be a just plain mayor unless voters approve a retroactive change to the Kenneth City charter next March that will allow public employees to serve in that capacity. The charter currently forbids it, and Zemaitis is a teacher at Dixie Hollins High School.

After Zemaitis took the oath of office, many of her supporters stood to applaud and cheer. Then came the all-important vote to appoint Zemaitis as mayor pro tem. Town clerk Nancy Beelman polled the council but stumbled when she got to Zemaitis.

"Can she vote?" Beelman asked town attorney John Elias, who said yes. Beelman then asked "Mayor Zemaitis" for her vote.

Zemaitis responded, "Okay, yes."

There was another outburst of applause.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:50am]


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