Zephyrhills council members take their new posts

Published April 16, 2013

ZEPHYRHILLS – Three returning council members and the city's new mayor took their oaths of office and reshuffled the council's leadership in a special meeting Monday evening.

Lance Smith, who defeated former council member Manny Funes in the April 9 election, was chosen by his peers to be council president, a position held until Monday by Kent Compton, who won his race against downtown businesswoman Rose Hale. Council member Charles Proctor, who was unopposed in the election, is now the council's vice president.

Danny Burgess was also unopposed in his bid to be mayor. He fills the unexpired term of Steve Van Gorden, who resigned in December after leaving his job as principal of Zephyrhills High School while being investigated for sexual harassment allegations. Burgess' term expires in April 2014.

Voters also approved a referendum that extends council terms from two to three years, a move the council proposed to stagger the terms and avoid the possibility of losing a majority of council members in one election. Terms will be extended in stages; for this election, the council drew straws to see who is first for a three year term. Smith won the draw.