St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman proclaimed he wouldn't sit at the dais for every City Council meeting, and he wasn't there for the start of Thursday's meeting.
During the public comment period, Dr. David McKalip railed about the cost of the proposed curbside recycling program and noted that Kriseman wasn't there to protect the "struggling, vulnerable and voiceless."
A few minutes later, almost as if on cue, Kriseman arrived — making the Buzz wonder if hizzoner was following the meeting on television.
City Administrator Gary Cornwell has lost the "interim" from his title.
Kriseman tapped the longtime bureaucrat for the role permanently. The City Council confirmed the appointment Thursday. His $150,000 salary will remain the same.
Of chief importance
Kriseman is expected to soon choose the company that will help find the city's next police chief.
Eight firms responded to the city's call for submissions to conduct the search. Kriseman plans to make a final decision "any day now," said Ben Kirby, the city's communications director.
"After that I'm not sure anything stops them from getting started," Kirby said.
Kriseman does not have to get City Council approval for contracts under $100,000.
Most of the firms said they could do the search for a base rate of $15,000 to $40,000 and could complete the job within a few months.
Another opening day event could give the Sunshine City some national exposure. The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour will hold the season's inaugural event in May at Spa Beach Park. St. Petersburg will be named in the event title.
Next month's Firestone Grand Prix is also the circuit's first race of the year.
CBS will broadcast the main volleyball event for two hours, AVP owner Donald Sun told the City Council. The group will vote in March to kick in $20,000 from a sports fund to help pay for the event.
Last year's tournament featured American volleyball players, including a Olympic gold medalist and other well-known players.
Kameel Stanley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8643. Follow her @cornandpotatoes on Twitter. Mark Puente is at email@example.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him @markpuente on Twitter.