BROOKSVILLE — To fill the vacancy on the City Council left by David Pugh Jr., council members have decided to throw open the job, at least temporarily, to applicants from the community.
The council voted Monday night to accept applications through Jan. 25 for a person who would be willing to fill the seat until the general election in November — or until Pugh's term expires in 2012.
Either of those options, however, would require a change in a city ordinance that currently requires a special election within 90 days of a vacancy.
Pugh, 37, who was re-elected in 2008, resigned suddenly Jan. 10, saying that he was taking a job as a deputy with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
Concern over the estimated $25,000 to $30,000 cost of a special selection caused council members to consider other options. No one supported the idea of leaving Pugh's seat vacant until the general election or allowing Gov. Charlie Crist to appoint a replacement.
Mayor Lara Bradburn pushed for changing the ordinance, saying that it was the most expedient and cost-effective option. She also told council members that picking a temporary replacement is what residents expect them to do. "People want to know these issues are taken seriously," Bradburn said.
Though council members Joe Bernardini and Joe Johnston III supported Bradburn's suggestion to change the ordinance, Vice Mayor Richard Lewis was not so sure that was a good idea.
"If we have something in place, we should have to abide by it," Lewis said
Council members plan to revisit the issue on Feb. 1.
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1435.