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2 of 3 fire commissioners face no opponents in Palm Harbor

Three seats on the Palm Harbor fire control board are up for grabs this year, but there will be a contest for only one of them.

Incumbent fire commissioners Norm Atherton in Seat 1 and Robert Shatanoff in Seat 3 drew no opposition by the filing deadline of noon Friday, according to the Pinellas County supervisor of elections office.

Robin Dickinson, however, faces two challengers for Seat 5. Opposing him on the ballot will be Joseph Petrillo and Carl Folkman.

Dickinson, who celebrated his 47th birthday Friday, was surprised to have opposition.

"I thought I had done a pretty good job of watching the dollars for everybody, and at the same trying to give raises to the firefighters," he said.

The owner of a carpet cleaning company, Dickinson is completing his first term as a commissioner.

Petrillo, 65, is a retired professional planner and a civic volunteer who keeps a close eye on the Fire Department. Petrillo expressed a philosophy that sounded similar to that of the man he wants to replace.

"I want to make sure the taxpayers get the most for their tax dollars and also that the firefighters have a good working environment," Petrillo said.

Folkman, 30, has higher political aspirations and says the fire board is "a beginning." He works out of his home marketing wine and spirits and is president of the Wexford West Homeowners Association. Folkman said he is part of a trend in which younger people are taking greater interest in government.

Palm Harbor fire commissioners serve four-year terms and are paid $200 a month. The five-member board oversees a fire department that has 61 employees and a budget of more than $4-million.