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A resident's quest to change Largo's form of government hit a snag last week when city leaders decided not to place his requests on the ballot.

Harry Ploger led a petition drive, hoping to persuade city commissioners to ask voters to consider a strong-mayor system in Largo, which now has a city manager/council form of government. Ploger admitted he has a beef with Largo City Manager Mac Craig over a long-awaited sidewalk in his neighborhood. But Ploger said he thought a new system would give residents more of a voice.

Commissioner Mary Gray Black suggested a straw poll to see whether voters supported Ploger's requests, which also included adding runoff election procedures and converting Largo to an aldermanic system with 12 representatives, each looking out for the interests of a district.

Commissioner Harriet Crozier wasn't impressed by the limited support for Ploger's requests. Fewer than 60 names accompanied Ploger's petition.

Mayor Pat Gerard pointed out that strong mayors are often flanked by municipal administrators. And she's not eager to institute the aldermanic system, either.

Ultimately, the commission decided to refer Ploger's requests to the city's charter review committee, set to convene next year.

After the meeting, Black said she didn't necessarily support the requests herself, except for the runoff provision. But she wanted the public to have a chance to weigh in.

"I personally support a city manager form of government, but I thought the people should have the say if they would prefer a strong mayor form of government," Black said.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at or (727) 445-4155.