Largo Commission Moves 4-Year Term Question to Ballot
By Leo Coughlin
LARGO - The City Commission at its meeting Tuesday night approved language for a referendum question on November's ballot that will change terms of office for the mayor and commission members from three years to four years.
Also, in connection with the November election, lots were chosen for position on the ballot.
For Seat 5, incumbent Harriet Crozier will be listed first, Robert Hunsicker second with Robert Avery third.
John Atanasio will top the candidates for Seat 6 with Doug Lardner second and incumbent Woody Brown third.
The Tuesday vote on possible four-year terms for elected officials began with action that occurred May 10 when the commission, at a work session, agreed by consensus to go ahead with the idea.
A main consideration for the change is to reduce the cost to the city for elections. When the city holds a "stand alone" election as it did last year for one seat the cost is something like $70,000.
However, when a Largo election is part of countywide voting, as occurs in every even-numbered year, the cost to the city is about $6,000 and $22,000.
The current practice in Largo is to have an election every November (elections used to be held in March, but this was changed beginning in 2004.)
Four-year terms, if approved in the November referendum, would begin this year with Seats 5 and 6. The 2012 election would apply to Seats 3 and 4 and the mayor and in 2014 to Seats 1 and 2. The change will require an election next year, 2011, for Seats 1 and 2 for three-year terms.
This November there are six candidates for two commission seats, representing an enormous change in the political picture in Largo in which apathy seems to have been the ruling factor for years.
Crozier, who has been on the commission for 17 years with little or no opposition based on that apathy, now has two challengers, both of whom are newcomers to the political scene.
That is the same situation with Seat 6 where Woody Brown, first elected in 2007 and winding up an undistinguished performance, has opposition from two newcomers, although Atanasio has been a familiar figure for years in Largo affairs.
In other action Tuesday night, five city employees were recognized. Jeanine Green, Largo Fire Rescue's Public Education Specialist, was named "Educator of the Year" by the Florida Association of Fire and Life Safety Educators.
Recognized as "Employees of the Quarter" were Julie Barlet, operational secretary at Fire Services; Tracy Brown, police officer; Joseph Colgate, network administrator, Information Technology, and Britney Hord, librarian.
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