DUNEDIN — Two longtime city commissioners who often disagree on policy issues have announced they both plan to run for mayor.
Julie Scales resigned her commission seat and announced her candidacy for mayor on March 18. Julie Ward Bujalski announced Tuesday that she plans to file paperwork to run for the top post.
With Mayor Dave Eggers leaving to run for Pinellas County Commission and one of two commissioners who are up for re-election announcing retirement, four of the five commission seats will be up for grabs in the November election.
Former Dunedin Mayor Bob Hackworth, who in late February was contemplating another run for the top spot, told the Tampa Bay Times Tuesday that he will not run.
Hackworth said he has typically run against incumbents in order to give citizens a chance to hold those officials accountable.
Noting the "unprecedented" number of open seats, Hackworth said he will "sit this one out" and let some new blood have a chance at office.
Community volunteer Bruce Livingston is running for Scales' seat. And former commissioner Deborah Kynes hopes to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Commissioner Ron Barnette.
The candidate qualifying deadline is noon June 16.
Julie Ward Bujalski
Bujalski, 48, has lived in Dunedin since age 5 and has served on the commission for eight years.
Throughout her time on the commission, she has served as the city's liaison to the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. She also sits on the Pinellas Metropolitan Planning Agency, a countywide transportation planning board.
She was heavily involved in getting a multi-city Jolley Trolley route and is also an advocate for the Greenlight Pinellas transit initiative.
"Who wouldn't want to be mayor of the city of Dunedin?" she said Tuesday.
"It's the place I grew up in. I just feel it's my time and it's Dunedin's time."
Scales, 68, is a four-term commissioner who was re-elected automatically in 2012 when no one filed to run against her.
Scales said her mayoral campaign will focus on her experience, leadership and vision. "I feel that I understand Dunedin and what our citizens want," she said.
She mentioned her role on issues including a neighborhood enhancement matching grant program to create strong neighborhoods, city guidelines that promote responsible development, environmental stewardship, and a push for fiscal prudence and transparency.
Kynes, who has a law degree but isn't practicing, served 10 years on the City Commission until she lost a mayoral bid to Eggers in 2009. A community volunteer, she has remained active in groups including the Florida Humanities Council board, the Pace Center for Girls and St. Petersburg College's Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions.
Kynes, 63, said she is running on "authenticity, expertise and no agenda but a sincere desire to serve Dunedin residents."
She says her previous commission experience taught her much about city services and the community, where her contributions to things like Weaver Park and the sprayground at Highlander Park are visible.
"You see little touches of something you affected," Kynes said, "and it's really what makes public service … important. If you can just touch the community for the better."
Livingston, 58, and his wife, Deidra, who grew up in Dunedin, have lived here since 1985. The couple ran Boyd Industries, a family-owned dental equipment manufacturing company, until late 2012, when they sold the 43-year-old business and began doing consulting work.
Livingston has served on Dunedin's Code Enforcement Board, has been a member of the Dunedin North and Feather Sound Rotary clubs, is former advisory board chairman of the local Salvation Army, and has led several nonprofit dental clinics that cater to low-income or uninsured patients.
Livingston never has run for office, but said his record of leadership prompted a group of residents who call themselves Citizens for a Better Dunedin to approach him about running for office.
"I've been very active with not-for-profit work, and public service is really just an extension of that," Livingston said.
"I felt I'd be in a position to have enough background to serve the residents of Dunedin."
Keyonna Summers can be reached at (727) 445-4153 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.