1. Pinellas

New Tarpon Springs commission off to bumpy start

TARPON SPRINGS — The installation ceremonies local governments hold following an election are typically full of tears and hugs and a lot of talk about respect and working together as a team.

Tarpon Springs' ceremony, held April 9, featured all of the above, with outgoing and incoming lawmakers speaking about the importance of a cohesive commission.

But Mayor Chris Alahouzos' decision to bypass commissioners Rea Sieber and Jacob Karr in favor of Townsend Tarapani for the position of vice mayor disrupted the feelings of unity right out of the gate.

"It is important to have continuity, to choose the vice mayor who is eligible to serve all three years and not to step down due to term limits," Alahouzos said. "Someone who already has the experience and served as vice mayor."

Tarapani served as vice mayor during his previous terms on the commission.

Karr and Sieber have one year left to serve on their current three-year terms.

"First of all, it's tradition to have the senior commissioner move on to vice mayor. It's very rare that does not happen," Sieber said. "So, obviously I'm very disappointed."

The motion passed by a vote of 4-1, with Sieber dissenting.