BROOKSVILLE — The Brooksville City Council on Monday evening approved a measure that will do away with the requirement of a special election when there is a vacancy on the council.
The ordinance, which passed unanimously on first reading, allows anyone appointed to a council seat to serve until the next regularly scheduled municipal or nonprimary countywide election.
For newly appointed council member Frankie Burnett, who was selected earlier this month to take over the seat of David Pugh Jr., who resigned in January, it was good news.
Burnett will be allowed to remain on the council well past the April 6 special election date called for in the city's old ordinance.
The next general election is scheduled for Nov. 2, at which time there will be an election to fill the remainder of Pugh's term, which does not expire until 2012.
The revised ordinance, said Mayor Lara Bradburn, made more sense, in that it makes unnecessary the $25,000 expense for a special election that writers of the previous ordinance may not have cared that much about.
"Times have changed, and our economy has changed," Bradburn said. "We're facing great challenges in the near future, and we'll need every available resource to meet them."
The new ordinance, which closely resembles a proposal that was rejected a week ago by council members Richard Lewis and Joe Johnston III, contains an amendment proposed by Johnston that specifies that only nonprimary election dates be used to ensure greater voter turnout.
One lingering question — whether allowing Burnett to vote on the matter Monday night constituted a conflict of interest — was answered by City Attorney Tom Hogan, who cited a state ethics commission ruling and said Burnett could vote.
The second reading and vote on the ordinance will come at a special meeting at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 18.
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1435.