Largo Commission Sets Election Procedure
by Leo Coughlin
LARGO – It is only spring but the far distant trumpet of the election in the fall was wafted into reality at Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting.
Procedures for the November 3 balloting were approved on first reading but this was a minor development – contestants, at least some of them, are known for the election.
No one has officially announced but it is a good bet that Mayor Pat Gerard will seek re-election and that the man she ousted from the job in 2006, Bob Jackson, will oppose her.
And with the one other seat up for grabs, the incumbent, Rodney Woods most certainly will run. Curtis Holmes, a city resident and businessman well known for his involvement in city affairs, will be his opponent.
Others may join the fray but the early morning line with these entrants shows that a lively campaign is shaping up.
Gerard and Woods, both in the first terms of their respective offices (although Gerard was on the commission before being elected mayor), have enjoyed an extra eight months in office because Largo changed its municipal election date from March to November.
This is the third year that voting has taken place in November after the commission approved the change in 2006.
Voting in November seems to ensure a bigger voter turnout historically because there is a presidential election every four years and a gubernatorial vote every two years. This year is a totally off year with no statewide or national voting.
For the election this year there will be a qualifying period that begins July 15 and ends August 13. All petition cards, other forms, fees, etc. have to be filed with the City Clerk by the deadline. A drawing for positions on the ballot will be conducted at the commission meeting August 18.
In other action Tuesday evening, the commission recognized the service of Jenny Shelby who has served on the Recreation, Parks and Arts Advisory Board for three years, representing Largo teenagers.
She is the daughter of Marty and Carrie Shelby. He is a former city commissioner. Jenny is a National Merit Scholar and is the recipient of a four-year academic scholarship to Yale, where she will matriculate in the fall.
Six Largo Fire Rescue officers who have been promoted were sworn in. They are James Warman, a 24-year veteran of the department who has been promoted to Deputy Chief; David Mixson, promoted to Division Chief of Operations; Jeremiah McAuliffe, promoted to District Fire Chief; Keith Hatten, promoted to District Fire Chief; and Lance Michael and Robert Shea, promoted to Lieutenant.
Chief Mike Wallace, who would have presented the newly promoted officers, was at a meeting in Belleair Bluffs with Mike Staffopoulos, assistant city manager. Wallace arrived at the commission meeting later.
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