KENNETH CITY — Ellen Dalbo unexpectedly resigned from the Town Council today after less than four months in office.
Dalbo, 56, notified officials of her immediate resignation by leaving a short note on Mayor Teresa Zemaitis' doorstep:
"I, Ellen Dalbo, have chosen to resign from the position of council member for the town of Kenneth City. I do not feel that I can perform the job for the residents of Kenneth City as I felt I could do. I sincerely appreciate your support, confidence and votes while I was campaigning for this position. I am not a political person. Just a concerned citizen that thought they could make a difference. I have realized in these past few months that I don't think I can accomplish what I intended to do. Again, thank you for your support and best wishes for the town of Kenneth City."
Dalbo sent the Tampa Bay Times an email declining to comment further.
Zemaitis said she was surprised when her husband, who found the document, handed it to her. Dalbo's keys to the Town Hall and the Community Hall were with it. The mayor said she tried to contact Dalbo and talk her out of her decision, but was unsuccessful.
"She's done," Zemaitis said. "She's finished."
Zemaitis said the council has 30 days to fill Dalbo's seat. Her replacement must have lived and been registered to vote in the town for at least two years. The person chosen will serve out the remainder of Dalbo's term, which will end in March 2016. The position is nonpartisan. Council members hold at least one meeting and one workshop a month. They earn $300 a month.
Kenneth City has a council-manager form of government, which was approved by voters last November. The transition is proving to be as tricky as expected for a town more known for its political infighting than its harmonious relationships. Among the controversies that have sprung up since the transition was completed in March are the firing of the police chief and a 3-2 council vote to hold a referendum to possibly do away with term limits for the mayor and council.
Next month, the council is scheduled to hold the first "visioning" session to begin creating a future for the town that would include improvements to buildings and landscaping along 54th Avenue N and 66th Street.
Although the issues are big and controversial, Zemaitis said, it's a perfect time to step in for someone who really wants to influence the future of the town.
"We're on the verge of doing big things in Kenneth City," Zemaitis said. "It's a good time ... a good opportunity for someone to get involved."
For information or to get an application for the council, go to the Town Hall, 6000 54th Ave. N.
Contact Anne Lindberg at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450. Follow @alindbergtimes.