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Members unable to agree to fill open seat on Kenneth City council

KENNETH CITY — Council members here agreed on one thing Wednesday night — to adjourn without choosing anyone to fill a vacant seat on the Town Council.

It will remain vacant until the March municipal election when voters will make the decision.

The seat was vacated late last month when Ellen Dalbo abruptly resigned after less than four months in office. Dalbo left behind a council that is severely split on many issues, most notably whether to place a referendum on the November ballot to do away with term limits. The proposal went on the ballot by a 3-2 vote, with Dalbo in the majority.

That split was evident during Wednesday's special meeting as the four remaining council members considered eight applicants for Dalbo's position. Among them were two former council members and Dennis McDonald, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives who had also served on the town's charter review committee.

The two former council members, Troy Campbell and Phil Redisch, received two votes, from Wanda Dudley and Joanne DeSimone. The other two council members, Mayor Teresa Zemaitis and Barbara Roberts, voted against them. With no majority, neither could take office. Dudley and DeSimone both supported political activist Larry Hauft, but neither of the other two council members voted for him.

None of the other applicants made it to a vote. Either they were not nominated or, like McDonald, did not receive a second.

Town attorney Tom Trask urged council members to try to choose someone. The town is facing some big issues including redevelopment, the upcoming budget and a decision whether to keep the Police Department or hold a referendum to let voters decide whether to contract with the Pinellas County sheriff for police protection.

"You will not get any business done in this city" with a four-member council that's split 2-2, Trask warned.

Contact Anne Lindberg at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450. Follow @alindbergtimes.

Members unable to agree to fill open seat on Kenneth City council 07/16/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 10:40pm]

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