The Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday unanimously selected Republican Dave Eggers, who is in the middle of a second term in the north Pinellas District 4, as its 2021 chair.
As its vice chair, the commissioners unanimously chose Democrat Charlie Justice, who on Nov. 3 narrowly won a third term in countywide District 3 by defeating Republican challenger Tammy Vasquez by a little more than half a percentage point.
The appointments follow the election where voters also re-elected countywide District 1 Commissioner Janet Long to a third term over Republican challenger Larry Ahern, another close race that was decided by little more than 1 percentage point. Former school board member Rene Flowers was also sworn into office on Monday following her election to District 7, an open seat she won with 67 percent of the vote against community activist Maria Scruggs.
Flowers succeeds Ken Welch, who served 20 years in the seat that covers the county‘s southern end and stepped down to run for St. Petersburg mayor.
Commissioner Karen Seel joked about the board’s new chair and vice chair considering five of the seven members are now women.
“Just to be kind of humorous, now we have two white males on a super-majority of women,” Seel said.
“Just remember you’re still out-voted, or outnumbered I should say,” Commissioner Pat Gerard followed up to her male colleagues.
Eggers, who served as a commissioner and mayor in Dunedin before his election to the county commission in 2014, noted the work ahead for the board, including environmental and infrastructure initiatives as well as his desire for more regional collaboration.
“It’s very humbling,” Eggers said. “A lot of hard work ahead, I understand that as well."