During a special meeting on December 4th, the Clearwater City Council appointed former Commissioner JB Johnson to the seat vacated by Councilmember Hoyt Hamilton
Fifteen applied for the interim position, and all were praised as being capable of filling it. But the Councilmembers and Mayor converged on the same short list of four: former member of Clearwater's Community Development Board (CDB) Alex Plisko, current member of the Marine Advisory Board Frank Dame, former City Commissioner Bob Clark, and former Commissioner and current CDB member JB Johnson.
Councilmember John Doran said that his short list quickly went to one; because of the short time frame and large workload, he favored experience over fresh ideas. "Knowing how to approach a referendum gives more weight to Council experience," he said, "Because JB has continued to be involved with the CDB, he's my first choice."
Johnson was appointed by a vote of 3-1, Councilmember Bill Jonson casting the dissenting vote. Bill Jonson favored Plisko or Dame over JB Johnson, saying that they would "bring more to the discussion during the next three months."
Johnson will be sworn-in during the December 12th City Council work session, and will serve until his successor is elected in March 2007. This is his second appointment as interim Councilmember, the first being as a replacement for a departing Whitney Gray in 2003.
During his brief term, Johnson will be making decisions on code amendments for the Marina District on Clearwater Beach, and a submerged land lease with the Sandpearl Resort. Although many of the decisions have already been made, Johnson will also be promoting the passage of referenda on the proposed downtown boat slips and the extension of the Penny for Pinellas 1-percent local option sales tax.
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