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Know your candidates: Seminole City Council

The job

Seminole has a council-manager form of government and an operating budget of about $15.2 million. The City Council is comprised of the mayor and six council members, who are responsible for setting the budget and adopting policy. Council members earn $5,562 a year. Members generally serve three-year terms, but in 2010 voters approved moving elections to coincide with the November general elections. So this year's winners will serve three years and seven months to allow for the change.

The election

Seminole had 12,252 registered voters as of Feb. 13 with 17 precincts and three polling places, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. Voter turnout in the past 10 municipal elections has ranged from a low of 7.7 percent (795 voters) in March 2002 to a high of 19.6 percent (2,559 voters) in 2007. The election is March 13. Voters can cast ballots for two candidates and the two top vote-getters will take office. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For information about the election, contact city clerk Rose Benoit at (727) 391-0204, ext. 102. For a list of polling places or general election information, go to the Supervisor of Elections Office website at votepinellas.com.

The candidates

Christopher Burke, 47, is a police sergeant who moved to Seminole in 1979. He graduated from Seminole High School and graduated summa cum laude from St. Petersburg Junior College with a liberal arts degree and magna cum laude from the University of South Florida with a bachelor's degree in history. He served 12 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve. He was nominated for the Bronze Star during the Persian Gulf War. He joined the Largo Police Department in 1989 and is a patrol supervisor. He is past president of both the Quail Ridge Homeowners Association and the Blessed Sacrament School Advisory Commission. He serves on the Pastoral Council at St. Jerome Catholic Church. He coaches a girls soccer team at the Seminole Recreation Center. He is married with two daughters. Assets: savings, stocks. Liabilities: mortgage. Source of income: salary. Campaign email: vote4burke@tampabay.rr.com. Endorsements: Seminole Professional Firefighters Association.

Thomas J. Christy, 60, is retired. He worked in transportation management for Carton Craft Corp. in Buffalo, N.Y., for 30 years. He worked as the security manager for Cove Cay in Clearwater. He served on the Tonawanda, N.Y., City Council from 1990 to 1995. He was co-chair of the Seminole Charter Review Commission. Served from 2008 to 2010 on the board of directors of Building 21 at Seminole Gardens condominiums. He is a member of the Concerned Citizens of Seminole Gardens and the condominium's Men's Club. He is a member of and serves as an usher at St. Justin Martyr Roman Catholic Church. He has an associate's degree in business management from Bryant & Stratton in Buffalo. He is divorced with four children and two grandchildren. Assets: condo, retirement account. Liabilities: car loan. Sources of income: salary, pension. Campaign website: tchristy2001.webs.com.

Sheryl Goff, 53, is a native of Detroit who moved to Seminole in 1987. She has an associate's degree from St. Petersburg College and has been working on a bachelor's in political policy administration from SPC since 2006. She earned her certified nursing assistant's certificate in Michigan and a real estate license in Florida. She worked for MCI (now Worldcomm) and in a doctor's office. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society at SPC. She served as president of the Pinellas County Jewish Day School PTA and was on the board of Temple B'nai in Clearwater. She is a member of the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. She is divorced and has two children. Assets: house, car, checking and investments. Liabilities: car payment. Source of income: investments. Campaign emails: shgoff1@gmail.com or sherylgoff@verizon.net.

Patricia Plantamura, 54, grew up on a farm near Lincoln, Neb., and moved to Florida about 20 years ago. She is completing a master's degree in Political Science at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She has a bachelor's degree in International Affairs and Spanish from the University of Nebraska and postgraduate business studies at the University of Nebraska. She has an associate's degree in Environmental Technology from the Environmental Technology Center in Tampa. She is a graduate of the Lincoln (Neb.) Police Academy and the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga. A former police officer and teacher, she was first elected to the Seminole City Council in 2009 and served on the city's Charter Review Committee. She has been a board member on both the Cordova Greens and Imperial Point Condo associations' boards. She is married and has one daughter who recently graduated from law school. Sources of income: salary, rent payments. Assets: home, rental property, stock. Liabilities: mortgages. Campaign website: patplant.blogspot.com.

Leslie Waters, 64, is a native of Pinellas County who has lived in the Seminole area for 36 years. She graduated from Boca Ciega High School, attended St. Petersburg Junior College (now St. Petersburg College) and received bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida State University. She is a Supreme Court certified mediator and has a senior professional in human resources certification. She worked for 29 years with Allstate Insurance in human resources, corporate relations, marketing and government relations management. She served in the state House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006, where she was chairwoman of the House Insurance Committee, the Transportation and Economic Development Committee, and chairman of several other joint select committees. During her last two years, she served as speaker pro-tem. Since terming out, she has run her own consulting firm, acting as a lobbyist in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., and presenting workshops in Florida, elsewhere in the U.S., Southeast Asia and the Middle East on "How to Advocate to Your Government" and "How to Win Political Campaigns" to professional, business and community groups throughout the United States, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. She was elected to the Seminole City Council in 2009. She is married to Al Waters. Sources of income: salary from her company, council salary, Allstate pension and salary as an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida. Assets: house, office building, cars, stocks, bank accounts, money market accounts. Debts: none. Campaign websites: waterswave.com and electwaters.com. Endorsement: Seminole Professional Firefighters 2896.

Know your candidates: Seminole City Council 03/03/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 3, 2012 3:31am]
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