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Politics

Next Oldsmar mayor wins raves

By Tamara El-Khoury
Published January 26, 2007


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Jim Ronecker is a businessman. He's a father of three, a husband, a Little League coach. He has a gold charm of a sailfish hanging on his neck. He caught one in Cancun once. It weighed 105 pounds.

He said he'd rather listen than talk. His hair is gray. He's 42. He's a morning person. He has boxes of signs that say, "Elect Jim Ronecker for Mayor of Oldsmar." They'll stay in the boxes. He's Oldsmar's next mayor.

Ronecker, who faces no opponents in the March 13 election, will bring youth and businesslike efficiency to Oldsmar's mayorship.

Ronecker will succeed Jerry Beverland, 71, who can't run again because of term limits.

During meetings, Ronecker, the council's youngest member and a 10-year resident of Oldsmar, won't digress to long history lessons on what happened in the city three or four decades ago. He wasn't there.

He also isn't likely to be as quotable as the current mayor.

"I think the city is probably going to go down the tubes now," Beverland said jokingly. "He'll probably ruin everything." Beverland has served as Oldsmar mayor and as a council member for almost 17 years.

But seriously, Beverland said Ronecker's good demeanor on the council, his thoughtfulness in decisionmaking, and his willingness to weigh different points of view will serve him well.

And although Ronecker said, "I love the guy to death," he also said he may be more "politically correct" than Beverland, who doesn't hesitate to say what's on his mind.

Ronecker just moved his business, On Demand Printing, from a building in northwest Hillsborough County, just across the Oldsmar city limits, to a building he bought in Oldsmar.

He wears khaki pants and a collared shirt to work and a suit and tie to council meetings.

He reminds customers that he's available whenever they need him. "I'll be here night and day," he said. "I don't stop."

On a visit to On Demand Printing, customer Paul Simino, president of One Simple Loan, said he's considering moving his growing company to a bigger building outside Oldsmar. That's when Ronecker shifts into "city of Oldsmar" mode and encourages Simino to stay.

As mayor, he's going to let people have their say, current council members said.

"I am anticipating that Jim will follow protocol and allow council members to give their opinions first rather than setting the direction in which he wants the council to go," said vice-mayor Janice Miller. "I think he will value our opinions."

Ronecker said he wants to see a lot of community input. He started a neighborhood advisory council six months ago. Representatives from the city meet every other month with leaders of homeowners associations to hear their concerns.

"He is very fair and he's got a lot of patience," said council member Suzanne Vale.

"I think he'll let people talk and say their piece and I think he's going to be awesome."

Tamara El-Khoury can be reached at 727 445-4181 or tel-khoury@sptimes.com.

[Last modified January 25, 2007, 08:45:03]


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