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Brooksville City Council member resigns

BROOKSVILLE — David Pugh Jr., who as mayor led Brooksville through two of the most difficult scandals in recent memory, has stepped down as a member of the City Council.

The resignation was effective Sunday, Pugh said in a letter to City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha dated Friday. Pugh, who had just begun year two of a second four-year term, did not offer a reason, writing only that he "will not be able to fulfill my duties" as a council member.

"I would like to thank all my supporters who have stood by me while I have worked for positive change for the city," Pugh wrote.

Pugh did not return a message from the St. Petersburg Times seeking comment Monday.

Fellow council members said a new job likely was a factor in the decision for Pugh, a 37-year-old divorced father of two.

The former engineering teacher for the Hernando County School District recently graduated from Pasco-Hernando Community College's Law Enforcement Academy and has landed a job as a deputy for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, council member Joe Bernardini said.

"We knew he was going to the academy, so we presumed this day would come at one point, but didn't expect it anytime soon," Mayor Lara Bradburn said. "It's definitely a loss for the city."

Elected for the first time in 2004, Pugh served two one-year terms as mayor, a largely ceremonial position chosen by council members. While mayor the first time, in 2007, Pugh led negotiations with then-police Chief Ed Tincher, who eventually resigned after an investigation found numerous misdeeds, including mishandling of evidence.

Pugh would later lead council efforts to clean up the Brooksville Housing Authority, resulting in the removal of four housing board members for failure to properly manage the authority.

A special election to replace Pugh could cost $25,000, the Hernando elections supervisor told Norman-Vacha.

Bernardini said he would likely support a change to the city code to allow the council to appoint a temporary replacement and then add the seat to the general election ballot this fall. There are already three seats up for grabs on the council this year, including those of Bernardini, Bradburn and Richard Lewis.

The council will discuss the issue at its meeting next month, Bradburn said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or tmarrero@sptimes.com.

Brooksville City Council member resigns 01/11/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 11, 2010 8:30pm]
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