Three Seminole council seats are up for grabs
By MAUREEN BYRNE AHERN
SEMINOLE -- Want more of a say-so in city affairs?
Starting today, candidates can sign up to run for one of three City Council seats. The three top vote-getters will win. The qualifying period ends Feb. 1, and the election will be March 5.
To become a candidate, a person must be a registered voter who has lived within the city limits at least one year. Candidates may pay a $100 filing fee or may pay $15 and submit 40 petition cards signed by registered voters in the city.
The three seats up for election now are occupied by Jim Dunn, Carol Hajek and Bob Matthews. Matthews will seek a seventh term, and Hajek will run for a fourth term. Dunn, who has served on the council since 1986, could not be reached Monday for comment on whether he will seek re-election.
"I would like to have one more term," said Hajek, a real estate broker. "I want to see all of the projects done that we've been working on."
For example, she said, a library to be shared by Seminole and St. Petersburg College will break ground in the spring, and the aquatics area of the city's new recreation center will be finished by summer.
If Dunn decides to run, it will be the fourth consecutive election in which he, Hajek and Matthews have simultaneously sought seats on the seven-member council. All three council members defeated opponents in the 1996 and 1998 elections. The 2000 election was canceled because no one ran against the incumbents.
They will face at least one newcomer this election.
Janet Long, 57, announced her candidacy in November. A longtime resident of Seminole, Long owns a consulting firm and serves on the city's tree advisory committee and on the Greater Seminole Area Chamber of Commerce's board of directors.
Before Seminole's switch to a city manager form of government in 1995, Long worked as an administrator for former Mayor Holland Mangum. "So this is kind of full circle for me," Long said.
Hajek, 67, lost her first run for office in 1995. She was appointed later that year to serve the remainder of the one-year term of Grover Blevins, who resigned because of poor health. She is a longtime Seminole resident and was present when the city was chartered in 1970 at Seminole Mall.
Matthews, 57, was first elected in 1990. He is a technician for Florida Power.
Dunn, 50, grew up in Seminole and has lived there most of his life.
City Council terms are two years. The base salary is $5,400 a year.
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