KENNETH CITY — Vice Mayor Adam Mayefsky thinks this town's council doesn't get enough respect and he has one suggestion to help change that: Give the mayor and council assigned parking spots close to Community Hall to make it easier to get to meetings.
But it doesn't look as if Mayefsky will get his designated slot. Wanda Dudley was the only one of the other four council members who supported the idea.
Mayefsky, 43, the youngest member of the council, said he got the idea a while back.
"This was something I wanted to ask you all about a long time ago but it just wasn't urgent enough in light of everything else going on," Mayefsky said during a workshop Wednesday. "I think one meeting and it wasn't recent, a few months back maybe, I came and I parked next to the Dumpster because I was running late. I had to park next to the Dumpster and I walked over to the meeting."
The distance, according to the Pinellas County mapping site, is about 200 feet.
"I thought, why don't we have spots up on the front of the building dedicated to us on meeting night where we can assure we have spots in front to get in on time?" Mayefsky asked. "It's not a luxury item. It's just a requirement of our job to be here."
Mayefsky said he broached the idea now because more spaces will be created on the north side of Community Hall, 4600 58th St. N, for the police to park all their vehicles there rather than in the main parking lot. The Community Hall also houses the Police Department. That will free up spaces in the front of the building, "then I would not feel bad to … take six or seven … spaces to designate them mayor and council (on meeting nights) and have that level of professionalism and convenience for us to get in there."
Mayor Teresa Zemaitis, 45, who has a reserved spot, said she has never had trouble getting parking whether she was on council or a concerned citizen. But, Zemaitis said, she gets to meetings early. Residents, she said, might be off-put by designated parking spots.
"You just have to beat the other residents here," Zemaitis said.
The two oldest members of the council also opposed the idea. Joanne DeSimone, 69, who is disabled, said she didn't think it would be fair to take those close spots that are frequently used by elderly people who have trouble walking. Phil Redisch, 78, said, "I don't mind walking" from one end of the parking lot to another.
Mayefsky said he wasn't being lazy.
Walking is "not the issue," he said. "I'm trying to create an environment in which the council is respected as the council in this town. … It's the principle."
Dudley, 56, said, "Based on that, on the professionalism, I agree with you."
Resident Barbara Roberts disagreed.
"If you're looking for professionalism, I don't think a parking spot will do that," she said.
When residents look to respect a council and its members, Roberts said, they look for people who work together and act as good stewards of taxpayer dollars when it comes to spending, "not a parking spot with your name on it."
Anne Lindberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8450.