BROOKSVILLE — Still deadlocked on their choice of who would temporarily fill the vacant seat left by Emory Pierce, the four City Council members decided Monday to leave the decision to chance. They put the names of finalists Kevin Hohn and Robert Battista into a hat.
When a member of the audience drew a slip of paper, Hohn had won.
He was sworn in immediately to the seat he will occupy through the November 2012 non-partisan election. A newcomer to elected office, the 56-year-old resident of Southern Hills Plantation knows he's an unknown quantity on a board whose members have all served multiple terms. But in his pitch before the council, Hohn stressed that he intends to be both an independent thinker and a person who is willing to compromise.
"This is a deliberative process where people work together to solve problems for the good of everyone, not just for a few," he said. "That's how I prefer to work."
In an interview Tuesday, Hohn outlined his goals for the city, which includes attracting more businesses and well-paying jobs and lessening the burden on taxpayers.
"I would love to see Brooksville as a city where businesses feel they need to be, not just want to be," he said. "Bringing in companies that will offer good paying jobs will bring energy to the city."
Council member Lara Bradburn, who along with Mayor Frankie Burnett supported Hohn's nomination, said she was impressed by his progressive attitude. She said his enthusiasm toward his council position should prove fruitful as time goes along.
"A fresh perspective would definitely be helpful at this point," Bradburn said. "We have a lot of important work to do and we need someone who will help us achieve the goals we've been working toward for a long time."
A registered Republican, Hohn admits he leans toward a conservative approach to budget matters. With the city wrestling with an estimated $400,000 revenue shortfall next year, nothing should be off the table, he said, even fire and police services.
"If it's not being run efficiently and effectively, we need to find out why, and fix it," he said.
A native of Atlanta, Hohn works as a public records product specialist with the global conglomerate Thomson Reuters, which provides information to businesses around the world.
Before that, Hohn spent 22 years with the Internal Revenue Service criminal's investigation division managing agents who investigated money laundering, terrorism financing and other financial crimes.
"I've put together budgets, so I know you don't always get what you want," Hohn said. "It's a balancing act. You have to figure out what you have to work with and make it work."
In 2007, Hohn and Dawne, his wife of 33 years, moved to Hernando County from Virginia and decided to build a home in Southern Hills. Although his attendance at council meetings has been infrequent, Hohn said he thinks he can get along with his fellow council members.
"I'm open-minded and I'm a fact-gatherer," Hohn said. "It's not about making popular votes. It's about making decisions based on what you feel is best for the people you represent."
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.