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Candidates sought to fill short-term opening on Port Richey City Council

PORT RICHEY — The city is entering uncharted waters as it moves to fill a City Council seat for less than two months after the recent death of Mayor Eloise Taylor.

During a meeting Tuesday, the council tried to figure out how to go about appointing a council member to fill the seat of Vice Mayor Bill Colombo, who has assumed Taylor's seat temporarily.

While a special election is set for Oct. 13 to find a successor to finish the 18 months left on Taylor's term, a debate ensued over filling Colombo's seat, with the only direction from the city's charter being that it "shall" be filled.

But with only four council meetings scheduled between now and the election, some questioned whether someone with experience and knowledge of current issues facing the city could be found.

"Why bother, really?" council member Nancy Britton asked.

City Attorney Joseph Poblick said that while the charter doesn't define the process of nominating someone, the council is bound to pick a person, even for a short time.

So, Colombo pitched the idea of having anyone interested in the position contact City Hall, and the candidates will then be given a few minutes at the start of the Aug. 25 council meeting to speak about why they want to serve. After that, the council will decide on a candidate, and he or she will take the seat immediately.

The city charter does say that candidates must have lived in the city for at least a year, and anyone running for mayor in the Oct. 13 election cannot be nominated.