New council, mayor installed today
By BRYAN GILMER
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 1, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- The ceremony will be smaller and simpler than a presidential inauguration, and neither Robert Frost nor Maya Angelou will be on hand to read any poems.
But St. Petersburg will hold its own ceremony Sunday morning to mark the passing of power. Circuit Judge John C. Lenderman will swear in six City Council members and the city's next mayor, Rick Baker.
Five of the council members won their seats in Tuesday's election, and council member Jay Lasita will take the oath for his second term after no one ran against him.
"My wife will be at my side," said John Bryan, who will represent District 2, or northern St. Petersburg, on the council. "That's very important to me because she played just a pivotal role in my campaign. It'll mean just a great deal to her, too. She's really looking forward to sharing that moment."
The city charter states the swearing-in shall happen April 1, regardless of whether it is a weekday.
The festivities begin at 11 a.m., when the current City Council will convene one last time by pledging allegiance to the American flag. Outgoing members will receive plaques, then have the chance to say a few words about their experience on the council. Kathleen Ford, Larry Williams and Bea Griswold are leaving the council. Ford and Williams ran unsuccessfully for mayor.
Then, that council will adjourn for the last time.
At noon, Lenderman will give the oath of office to the officials beginning a term of service: mayor-elect Baker and council members-elect James Bennett, Bryan, Richard Kriseman, Lasita, Virginia Littrell and Earnest Williams. The new council will convene and say their own pledge to the flag.
The council will have a chance to pick a chairperson to preside over its meetings for the next year, a task that gave the council trouble last year. It took 22 votes before a majority of members agreed on who should serve.
Larry Williams got the role. Council member Rene Flowers was selected as vice chair.
After that task is done, each new member will have a chance to say a few words, and the meeting will adjourn to a reception.
Outgoing Mayor David Fischer will attend the ceremony for "auld lang syne," he said Thursday, but he doesn't anticipate playing a large role.
If you go
Ceremony begins at 11 a.m. today.
Held in City Council chambers at City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N. Open to the public
Remarks by outgoing council members and new council members.
Selection of new City Council chair.
If you don't
Televised live on WSPF-TV, carried on cable channel 15, and broadcast on UHF channel 35.
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