INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- At the meeting of the City Commission March 22, Mayor Bob DiNicola got so irked he was almost beside himself.
It was the night -- last week -- that two commissioners, elected unopposed, were sworn in. It was also the night when the commission was to select a new vice mayor.
The custom for years in Indian Rocks Beach has been for the vice mayor job to be rotated among four commission members. Custom would have dictated that R.B. Johnson would become vice mayor.
Instead, after Jim Palamara and Bill Ockunzzi were sworn in to begin their new terms, Palamara nominated Ockunzzi, who has been vice mayor, for another term.
For DiNicola, it was important that custom be followed. DiNicola was planning to leave his post as mayor and wanted his successor to be Johnson.
It all blew up in his face so he remonstrated with Palamara for not following custom. But Palamara stuck to his position, insisted on nominating Ockcunzzi and, predictably, the motion carried.
The political alignment on the commission, in a city that has become messy recently with a fractured and bewildered city hall, puts DiNicola and Johnson most often against Palamara, Ockunzzi and Jeremiah Carmody -- the triumvirate -- on key votes.
DiNicola's plan to leave -- he and and his wife, Renie, are moving to the Villages in Marion County just south of Ocala -- was supposed to be a closely guarded secret.
Obviously, too many people knew about it. Most likely, the triumvirate got wind of it and exploded its knowledge bomb March 22 when Palamara piped up with his nomination of Ockunzzi.
Had the secret been kept more closely, the only news of DiNicola's leavetaking would have appeared last week in the Clearwater Gazertte & Beach Views.
But the county's weekly free tabloid had the news. Its editor is a friend of one of the supposedly few people in on DiNicola's plan. That intrepid editor performed in sterling fashion and extracted the information from DiNicola after some effort.
In short, too many people were in on the "secret." Those so informed included people who were not even connected with politics or Indian Rocks Beach. One such person in possession of the information could have been the equivalent of DiNicola standing on the corner of Gulf Boulevard and 15th Avenue handing out flyers outlining his plans.
To the credit of the shrewd triumvirate, its members kept their knowledge of DiNicola's plans very secret and pulled off a political coup.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition