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Zephyrhills gets its first new mayor in a decade

Steve Van Gorden officially became Zephyrhills's first new mayor in a decade shortly after 5 p.m. Friday.

That's when he was sworn into office at City Hall by City Clerk Linda Boan.

Earlier in the day, Pasco's Canvassing Board certified Van Gorden's 377 votes to opponent Michael Payne's 158, effectively locking in his landslide win with more than 70 percent of the vote.

Van Gorden, 36, a former Dade City commissioner, is principal of Zephyrhills High and is president-elect of the Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce and the Zephyrhills Noon Rotary. He has pledged to spend lots of time listening to residents' opinions, concerns and ideas. He says he will do his best to follow former Mayor Cliff McDuffie's example of leadership. Van Gorden wants to be a strong force in the city's major redevelopment efforts and luring new businesses to the area.

Also sworn in Friday night were City Council members Jodi Wilkeson and Ken Burgess, who ran unopposed.

The City Council also voted unanimously to reorganize, elevating Kent Compton to council president and Lance Smith to vice president.

The mayor and council members serve for two years and are paid $6,000 annually.

The next council meeting is April 23.

Zephyrhills gets its first new mayor in a decade 04/13/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 13, 2012 7:42pm]
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