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Voters pick familiar name in Inverness

They put Dick Kaufman back on the City Council and defeat two charter amendments on city manager duties.

By BRIDGET HALL GRUMET

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 14, 2001


INVERNESS -- Richard "Dick" Kaufman regained his Inverness City Council seat Tuesday, defeating challenger Kenneth Chadwick in a razor-thin 322-311 victory.

"You sure you got the count right?" Kaufman said jokingly to City Clerk Marilyn Jordan.

Kaufman, a two-term council member who resigned from Seat 2 in November to make a failed bid for County Commission, said he was glad he took a campaign volunteer's advice to personally call voters and encourage them to participate in Tuesday's election.

"When you have a turnout this small, every vote truly counts," said Kaufman, 70, his face sunburned from spending the previous 12 hours waving at voters entering City Hall.

With 637 of the city's 4,645 voters casting ballots, Inverness had a 13.7 percent turnout, Jordan said.

City officials had hoped for a 25 percent turnout, but with just one contested election and two charter amendments on the ballot, voter interest was low.

Losing by such a slim margin, 71-year-old Chadwick said, "You can think of a thousand things you could have done differently or more of."

Inverness voters also defeated two charter amendments dealing with the city manager's responsibilities.

The first would have changed Section 5 of the charter to state that the annual budget would be prepared at the city manager's direction. Section 3 already charges the city manager with overseeing budget preparations, but Section 5 currently gives those responsibilities to the finance director. The amendment failed on a 328-274 vote.

The second amendment would have changed Section 5 to allow the city manager to reorganize the police department as he can do to other departments, with the exception of the offices of the city clerk and city attorney. The change would have made that section consistent with Section 3, which already allows the city manager to reorganize all departments except for the city clerk. Voters defeated it 363-239.

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