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Retired lobbyist fills out council

A former 30-year top city administrator will fill a vacant seat on the City Council.

Retired city lobbyist Herb Polson was selected by the City Council Thursday to serve the final year of Rick Kriseman's council term in District 1.

Polson, 58, will be sworn into office Dec. 14.

"We've been together a long time," Polson told council members at a special meeting Thursday. "I believe I can be a seamless addition to this group."

Polson was selected on the council's first ballot with six out of a possible seven votes, beating out former city council member Bob Kersteen and community activist Thomas Killian.

The city's chief lobbyist for 21 years until he retired in August, Polson said he now has the time and energy to devote to the City Council. He has worked with five mayors and has been a close adviser to both David Fischer and Rick Baker. He has been a city resident since 1959.

During Thursday's interview, Polson drew off his work with the city often, answering questions with a specificity other candidates could not.

"I have the knowledge, the experience and the desire to serve this council," said Polson, who will earn $38,000 a year.

He likely would be a frontrunner should he seek re-election in 2007, and he has indicated he will run.

Both council chairman Bill Foster and council member Earnest Williams were appointed to their seats before being elected to a full term.

Polson replaces Kriseman, who resigned to run for the state House in November.

The appointment originally had been sought by five residents, but only Polson, Kersteen and Killian attended Thursday's interview.

Killian, 59, sought to distinguish himself as a community leader while Kersteen, 69, pressed his previous service on the City Council.

District 1 covers the western portion of the city.

Aaron Sharockman can be reached at asharockman@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2273.

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