Thursday, November 23, 2017
Politics

The Buzz: New council captains, a Geritol moment, kudos for Rick Baker

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New council captains

With a new mayor taking the helm next month, St. Petersburg City Council members will meet Thursday to pick a new chairman and vice chairman for 2014.

Incoming members Amy Foster and Darden Rice will vote in the process. The selections become official in January once the new council approves the recommendations.

The chairman role comes with a perk — not extra money, but the ability to assign members to committees that address public safety and infrastructure, budget and taxation, and housing issues.

A Geritol moment

Council member Bill Dudley grew frustrated Thursday when he learned it could take a year to implement rules to allow urban farms. During an hourlong discussion with the public safety and infrastructure committee, staffers laid out possible ordinances.

At one point, Dudley, head of the committee, said: "The wheels of progress, apparently, move real slow around here. It's a Geritol community. It just takes so cotton-picking long."

A staffer then assured Dudley that the time frame was only a recommendation.

New team members

Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman announced two new appointments to his administration. He selected Sally Everett to be his director of legislative, education and intergovernmental affairs. She had been the director of community and government relations at Hillsborough Community College.

Kriseman also promoted Robert Danielson, a 27-year city employee, to be the interim marketing director. On the campaign trail, Kriseman criticized the marketing department for not doing enough to promote the city.

Kriseman's team has not supplied salaries for any of his new hires.

Honors for Rick Baker

Former Mayor Rick Baker will receive the Chancellor's Award for Civic Leadership during USF St. Petersburg's fall commencement.

The two-term mayor will be honored for his commitment to education, the arts, diversity and economic development. The award is given for outstanding contributions to the community.

It is the most prestigious award granted by USF St. Petersburg and recognizes the institution's strong ties to the community.

Before becoming mayor, Baker served as president of the law firm of Fisher & Sauls and ran the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. After leaving City Hall, Baker became vice president of economic development at USF. He is now president of the Edwards Group and handles commercial real estate, hotels and entertainment projects.

More than 400 students will receive degrees Sunday, Dec. 15 at the Mahaffey Theater.

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459.

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