One story overshadowed by Bob Buckhorn's victory Tuesday in the race for Tampa mayor was how well Earl Lennard pulled off the election.
Lennard is the retired Hillsborough County school superintendent whom then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed county elections supervisor in 2009. He took over at a critical time. The previous November, Phyllis Busansky ousted the bumbling Buddy Johnson, who destroyed public confidence in his office with his sheer incompetence. But Busansky died unexpectedly after several months in office and didn't get a chance to see through her reforms. Lennard took over the rebuilding process, and the transition is complete.
The votes were counted and recorded Tuesday night not even two hours after the polls closed. Unlike the Johnson era, there were no computer malfunctions, lost votes or ballots that went missing. The precincts were well staffed with working equipment. Early voting and absentee ballots were handed efficiently and without any missteps.
There is a new normalcy at the elections office. Lennard has managed to do what Busansky started — turn around an office that was a laughingstock into a model of professionalism and efficiency. When the talk on election night is about who won and who lost and not about missing ballots or late results, that's a good thing.