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Indian Rocks leaders must choose again

By AMY WIMMER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 4, 2002

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- The City Commission that had so much difficulty selecting a new commissioner last week will have to do it again next week.

Betsy McKenna, who got the job after the commission initially refused to appoint anyone on its list of applicants, declined Monday to accept the position.

Shortly after McKenna's appointment, City Attorney Andrew Salzman opined that she could not be a city commissioner as long as her daughter works in the city clerk's office. The city charter states that relatives of elected officials may not work for Indian Rocks Beach.

"It was, unfortunately, a misunderstanding of the city charter," McKenna said Tuesday. "And to make sure that there is absolutely no question of impropriety, it does seem that one of us can't keep the position."

McKenna was appointed Nov. 26 to fill the remaining three months of former Commissioner Joanna "Cookie" Kennedy's term. Kennedy resigned at the beginning of November to run for state Senate.

When Kennedy lost that election and applied to take back her City Commission seat, only two of the remaining four commissioners supported her. The commission also could not agree on the four other people who wanted the post.

Three other applicants withdrew from consideration because they wanted the commission to pick Kennedy.

Now the commission will have to try again to find a replacement for Kennedy. McKenna's daughter, Meredith McKenna, is a junior at Largo High School and works a few hours each week at City Hall.

"She loves that job," Betsy McKenna said. "It's a very pleasant place to work."

The commission will try again to appoint a commissioner at a meeting Monday.

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