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Former Dade City Commissioner Bill Dennis back in his old job

DADE CITY — When City Commissioner Steve Van Gorden announced his resignation last month, Mayor Scott Black warned fellow commissioners to "prepare to be politicked" as they sought his replacement.

But it was Bill Dennis, the former commissioner who was selected for the post Tuesday night, who was politicked.

Van Gorden approached Dennis in the parking lot after last month's meeting to see if he might consider taking the open seat. Dennis, who served two eight-year stints on the commission in the past 27 years, agreed to come back for round three.

"Bill has been in this community for a very long time, he has the best interest of Dade City at heart," Van Gorden said before Tuesday's meeting.

Van Gorden is resigning because he is moving out of the city limits. His term was set to expire in 2012. When a commissioner resigns with more than 60 days left on his or her term, the commission must appoint someone to fill the seat until the next scheduled election.

Dennis, 77, was first elected to the commission in 1982 and served eight years before losing to Black in 1990. He was elected again in 1998 and was defeated by Commissioner Camille Hernandez in 2006.

The former middle school teacher taught City Manager Billy Poe at Stewart Middle School.

Reached earlier in the week, Dennis said he was unfazed about the possibility of serving with his former opponents and had no agenda moving forward.

"I'll do what I've always done. If it seems like it's good for Dade City then I'll vote for it," he said. "I don't care who makes the motion."

Dennis will serve until the election in April. He said the next few months will determine whether he runs for election.

Dennis was nominated at Tuesday's meeting by Van Gorden. Commissioner Curtis Beebe and Black seconded the motion.

Commissioner Eunice Penix wanted former city employee Jim Shive, who ran for election in 2008 but lost to Beebe, to take over the seat. Hernandez seconded that nomination.

Mike Agnello's name was also mentioned. He ran in 2008 but lost to Penix.

In other news, commissioners voted to keep Karla Owens as part-time city attorney after she steps down Dec. 31 from her other roles as director of safety services and director of community development.

Owens will earn $27,580 annually for up to 21 hours per month of service; additional hours will be billed to the city at $100 per hour. The city will also pay her bar dues and medical and life insurance premiums, and pay for her attendance at an annual municipal attorneys meeting. Owens has been with the city since 2003.

Hernandez made a motion to terminate Owens' contract with the city, which was seconded by Van Gorden.

"I do think that periodically we need to look and see what our options are," Hernandez said.

The motion failed. Beebe, Black and Penix opposed it.

Former Dade City Commissioner Bill Dennis back in his old job 11/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 8:27pm]
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