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Fresh faces on council // Belleair Beach elects a trio of newcomers

Voters ousted the only incumbent in this year's race and sent three new people to the seven-member City Council. The incumbent, Frank Lombardi, received the fewest votes, 236, of the four candidates. But he was not worried about his political future.

"I just got asked to be deputy mayor," Lombardi said in a telephone interview shortly after the election. "I'm just as excited about that as I am about being on council."

Lombardi, whose one-yearterm expires today, was seeking a two-year term. He plans to take the deputy mayor's position, a non-voting assistant to the mayor, he said.

Hugh Papworth, the top vote-getter, will trade in his deputy mayor's hat for a council seat when he and two others are sworn intonight.

Papworth received 309 votes, Ronald Zimmerman followed with 299 votes, and James Allen Waldrop won 279.

"I had a lot of good help," said Papworth, 67, after winning. "I guess people apparently want me in office."

Zimmerman, a 60-year-old real estate associate, took his first step into elective office with this race,saying he wanted to give back to the city.

"I'm excited," he said. "I'm pleased in everyone's confidence in me."

"Third time's a charm," proclaimed Waldrop, 63, who was running after two losses. "I think I'm going to do the best I can for the city and the voters."

Papworth said he was disappointed in the turnout, but said this was an off-year and no major issues were up for referendum.

Of the 1,284 registered voters, only 445, or 34.7 percent, cast ballots, lower than the 40 percent predicted by City Clerk Mary Gray Black.

The counting of the absentee ballots was a particularly interesting part of this year's election. In invalidating two of the absentee ballots, the canvassing board was very careful to note signatures of the voter as well as the notary public. Black, a member of the board, made sure it was put on record that the discarded ballots did not substantially meet the requirements of the election laws.

"It was just like walking on eggs," said City Attorney John Hubbard, chairman of the canvassing board.

He also was chairman of last year's canvassing board, which was sued by Michael Mone after it decided not to count his ballot because it had not been notarized properly. The lawsuit is pending.

Mone's ballot would have broken the tie between mayoral candidates John Blank and William Atteberry. In the end, Blank won when his name was pulled from a coffee cup. Blank has since resigned and Atteberry was appointed to replace him.

Hubbard said that he was just as careful in examining ballots this year as he was last year.

"The good luck," he said, "is that there were no tie votes."

The new council members will be sworn in at 7:30 p.m. today at City Hall, 444 Causeway Blvd.