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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Seminole City Council debates best way to replace Hartstein

SEMINOLE -- The longest debate during Saturday's council retreat centered on the method of choosing a replacement for Patricia Hartstein, who resigned last week.

The only rule in Seminole is that the replacement must be chosen within 30 days of the resignation. That has left the council a lot of freedom in its methods: At times, it has advertised for replacements. At other times, it has picked the runnerup in the most recent election.

Because of time restraints, City Manager Frank Edmunds wanted to know Saturday whether the council intended to advertise. If so, he said, he could get the ad out in plenty of time for folks to apply and the council to decide before the 30 days were up.

Most council members opposed that idea in favor of appointing Tom Barnhorn, the lone incumbent in the March 10 election. Barnhorn came in third, trailing Patricia Plantamura and Leslie Waters, who won seats on the council.

Plantamura wasn't happy with the idea of choosing Barnhorn simply because he was the runnerup.

Barnhorn lost, she pointed out. Plantamura also pointed out that the last time this happened, the council decided to advertise for applicants rather than select the runnerup. Plantamura ought to remember -- she was the runnerup at the time.

"It's just the whim" of the council in deciding, Plantamura said. Then, later, she conceded, "the vote is already done. We can tell by the personalities here."

But Edmunds said that's not quite true. The council has to vote in session on a method of selecting Hartstein's replacement. That will come May 12.

"This was a healthy debate," Edmunds said. "You're going to have an opportunity to do it again on the 12th."

Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer

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[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:51am]

    

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