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Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Avoiding a battle of the gavel

Jeff Schmucker Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 04:55 PM

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In case there's ever a power grab for the ceremonial title of running Brooksville city council meetings, there's now a process for determining who will hold the prized gavel.

That process was approved Monday night despite views from at least two of the four council members present that they would rather leave deciding the leadership to a chance coin toss.

Whether because of an emergency or random happenstance when both mayor and vice mayor can't attend a public meeting, the council member who has been on council the longest since their last sworn-in date would then takeover.

If seniority comes down to two council members with the same sworn-in date, then the person with the lowest seat number would be chosen.

Vice Mayor Lara Bradburn — sitting in for Mayor Joe Johnston III, who was absent — said she had a problem using the seat numbers to determine seniority.

She argued that the numbers should never matter other than referencing which of the five council positions is up for election.

"I don't want to set precedence here," Bradburn said. "We're elected to represent the city at-large — not our little neighborhoods. I'm afraid this would lead us closer to that."

She and council member Kevin Hohn also agreed that they supported a coin-toss determining who would lead the council.

* * * * *

Bradburn went on to say she was concerned future council members who are elected could maneuver to run for seats that would offer them greater chances of taking over running meetings in emergency situations.

However, Councilman Joe Bernardini dismissed those concerns, saying that gauging seniority and seat numbers solely for the purpose of running a meeting is unlikely and difficult to calculate.

"If someone can figure all that out, they should be playing the lottery," Bernardini said.

Council members voted 3-1 to approve the selection process with Bradburn voting against it — saying her vote was an "absolute 'nay.'"

In other business, board members are seeking a fifth member to sit on the Great Brooksvillian Screening Committee.

Four residents submitted applications and approved to sit on the board and review each of the nominees for Great Brooksvillian to give a recommendation to city council members.

The winner would then be honored during the Founder's Week, unless a different date is determined by council.

The deadline to submit for this board is 5 p.m. July 27.

For details or to submit an application, contact the City Clerk Janice Peters at (352) 540-3853 or email (352) 544-5271

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