BELLEAIR BLUFFS - A familiar face has returned to the Belleair Bluffs City Commission.
Hunt Brand, a former mayor and twice a member of the commission, was chosen at Tuesday night's commission meeting to fill the seat left vacant with the resignation of Britt Nelson last month.
And it was fate, as it turns out, that had a hand in the selection of Brand.
The planning to fill the position originally focused on getting a temporary figure who would fill out the Nelson term until a special election was held with that person not running to continue in office.
That was the thinking and John Tabor, a leading citizen and a member of the commission years ago, had offered to play that role.
But Tuesday night, five candidates emerged as interested in the job. In addition to Brand and Tabor they were Wanda Rusinowski, Joe Barkley and Manuel Kutsourais.
Mayor Chris Arbutine and Commissioner Dave Shimkus favored the original planning of a temporary person to fill the seat and consequently voted for Tabor.
Commissioners Troy Kroz and Bob Russo, however, voted for Brand. The tie prevailed again and Tom Trask, the city's lawyer, advised that in a deadlock the procedure was to go to a drawing.
A drawing was held and Brand emerged victorious. He is interested in continuing in office and will be a candidate in the special election April 21.
The regular election March 13 has three candidates for two seats. Two of them are incumbents - Russo and Kroz - who will be challenged by Wally Witham, a former commissioner member.
There will be a candidates night March 6 at 7 p.m. sponsored by the Belleair Bluffs Civic Association and conducted by the League of Women Voters.
In other business, the commission approved ordinances dealing with occupational licenses and fair share provisions and resolutions relating to supporting the Florida League of Cities legislative priorities and a Tampa Bay Emergency Planning community right to know week.
Also approved on first reading was the ordinance on the special master for code enforcement procedures.
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