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Port Richey vice mayor will seek mayor's job

Bob Leggiere is the first to enter the race after Mayor Eileen Ferdinand says she will leave her office to run for county commission.

By MATTHEW WAITE

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 15, 2000


PORT RICHEY -- In the wake of the mayor leaving to run for county commission, the Port Richey vice mayor said Wednesday that he will run for her open post in a September special election.

Vice Mayor Bob Leggiere said he was a definite candidate for the mayor's job and made the first-term councilman the first to put his name on the ballot.

"I love this city," he said. "I love the people in it. I'm not burned out yet."

Current Mayor Eileen Ferdinand announced earlier this month that her resignation from the job would be effective Sept. 5. Ferdinand is running for county commission, and state law requires candidates who already hold elected offices to resign if they want to run for another post.

Ferdinand and Leggiere, whose terms both end in April, must submit their resignation letters no later than July 7 under the state law.

The mayor has said she chose to make her resignation effective Sept. 5, the date of the statewide primary election, because that would allow Port Richey to elect a new mayor, plus save the city the expense of having a separate special election.

Under the city charter, a replacement for Leggiere's council post would be appointed, since less than a year remained in the term. Under the charter, the council would appoint a resident to fill out the term until the April elections.

One city resident has already said she wants the job.

Phyllis Grae, who finished fourth in a three-seat race in April, said she would lobby for the appointment for Leggiere's job.

"It would be an honor to serve," said Grae, the chairwoman of the city's Planning and Zoning Board. "It's something that I want to do."

Leggiere was first elected to the council in 1998 and made vice mayor in April. He owns Custom Windows and Doors in Port Richey.

Leggiere said he wants to jump start the city's annexation efforts, increase development efforts along the waterfront areas of the city, add boat ramps and continue to clean the city.

"There's a million little projects out there," he said. "I've got a lot of energy when it comes to that."

-- Staff writer Matthew Waite can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6247 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6247. His e-mail address is waite@sptimes.com.

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