Pinellas Park election could change face of city government

PINELLAS PARK — With four of the five seats up for grabs, next March's election for City Council could be a game changer.

On the ballot will be slots for the mayor and three council positions.

Two of those council seats are held by Rick Butler and Jerry Mullins, both of whom say they are running for re-election. Whoever wins those seats will serve a four-year term.

The third council seat is held by Sandra Bradbury, who has resigned, effective in March, to run for mayor. The winner of the race for Bradbury's council seat will hold the office for two years, the remainder of her term. Whoever wins the mayor's race will serve a two-year term.

The mayor's seat came open late last month when Bill Mischler announced he would not seek a seventh term and would retire from public life after his term ends in March.

Bradbury jumped into the race the next day. A few days later, Patti Johnson, a local business owner, announced she plans to run for the seat Bradbury is vacating.

Bradbury, Johnson and any others interested in serving can make their candidacy official beginning Monday when qualifying opens. It closes Nov. 22.

Bradbury, 47, is the daughter of former longtime Mayor Cecil Bradbury. She was elected to the council in 2002 and is the current vice mayor. She has served as an ambassador for the Pinellas Park/Mid-County Chamber of Commerce, President's Selection at Large for the Suncoast League of Cities and the Tampa Bay Business Journal recognized her commitment to public service at its 2008 Business Woman of the Year Awards ceremony.

Butler, 54, a local Realtor is a lifelong resident of Pinellas Park. He was first elected to the council in 1998. He is the immediate past president of the Suncoast League of Cities and a past president of the Pinellas Park Kiwanis Club and the Pinellas Park Boys and Girls Club. Butler has served as a trustee of Columbia Northside Hospital and the Pinellas Park Equity Study Commission.

Mullins, 59, owner of a concrete pumping business, has lived in the city more than 50 years. He is the newest member of the council, having been elected in 2008. Mullins sits on the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board; chairs the Pinellas Park Community Redevelopment Agency; and is a member of the Homeless Leadership Network and the Kiwanis Club.

Johnson, 66, is making her second try for the council. She came in third in a six-way race in 2008 that Mullins won. She owns Amber Glen Equestrian Center and Amber Glen Feed Depot. She has served on the city's equestrian board.

Pinellas Park has an operating budget of about $49.6 million. It has a council-manager form of government consisting of a mayor and four council members. Council members are responsible for setting policy and passing the budget. A city manager is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the city. Council members serve four-year terms and earn about $16,400 a year. The mayor serves a two-year term and earns about $18,900 a year.

Reach Anne Lindberg at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450.

.Fast facts

If you're interested

Qualifying for the March 13 general election in Pinellas Park opens Monday and closes at 1 p.m. Nov. 22.

Candidates must be at least 18 years old, a registered voter and have been a resident of Pinellas Park for at least 18 months. For information, contact the city clerk at (727) 541-0706.

Pinellas Park election could change face of city government 11/05/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 4, 2011 5:30pm]

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