BELLEAIR BEACH - Hard on the heels of the surprising results in the March 14 election, which brought two newcomers to the City Council and sent two incumbents and a former mayor down to resounding defeat, a member of the council submitted his resignation.
The City Council held its swearing in ceremony Monday night of Jeff Coulson, returned to the council for a second term, and Mary Schoonover, top vote getter last week, and Richard Crowl, a brand new fact to the scene.
Mike Kelly, a former mayor, ran dead last (with 145 votes) in the election to suffer a stinging defeat. His ticket co-mates, Donna Durante and Marvin Behm, joined him in the crash and burn exercise.
Observers say it was apparent that the defeat of this trio completely upset the vision and dream of a “power quad” that led Ken Lucci to submit his resignation from the council the day after the election.
The day before the election, Belleair Beach residents received a letter issued by Lucci in which he gave his imprimatur to Kelly, Durante and Behm who ran as a slate.
Apparently the vision was that he and the three he endorsed would have constituted a solid majority on the seven-member council and could have dominated the board.
With that dream gone up in smoke, Lucci might have been a lone voice on the council, although his resignation letter seemed to want to make its readers believe that he had been verging in this direction for some time.
Results of the election leave Mayor Rudy Davis presiding over a council made up of veterans Lynn Rives, Stan Sofer and Coulson along with the new faces, Schoonover and Crowl and one to be named to fill a now empty seat.
Council members Monday night discussed that opening and will act at their meeting April 3 when nominations will be received and a vote held to fill the spot.
Lucci’s letter was dated March 7, but not received in City Hall until the morning of March 15, last Wednesday, hours after the significant election. The dating suggests that it was written prior to his endorsement letter that came out on March 13.
None of the defeated candidates was at City Hall Monday night. It was the first meeting in more than five years that Kelly has missed.
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