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Date of Issue: June 23, 2010

Three posts, 1 contest in Bradenton Beach

Bradenton Beach has three offices up for election in November — but only one race will require any votes.

Neither psychic nor odds-maker nor political pundit is needed to forecast the outcome of the general election for mayor or Ward 2 commissioner.

Incumbent Mayor Bob Bartelt will be elected to the post that he stepped into earlier this month following the abrupt resignation of Michael Pierce.

And Ed Straight will succeed Bob Connors as Ward 2 commissioner.

But incumbent Janet Vosburgh, appointed to complete Bartelt’s term as Ward 4 commissioner, will face Michael Harrington in that district.

Vosburgh took her oath of office June 17 to complete Bartelt’s commission term.

She most recently served on the city’s charter review committee, which made a series of recommendations that will be on the November ballot.

She and her late husband Ray purchased a home in Bradenton Beach as an investment property in 1986, and Vosburgh moved to the city about eight years ago.

“I love living in Florida,” she said. “I wake up every day and go for a walk on the beach. I’m awed by the water and the birds.”

Vosburgh has ties to Milwaukee, where she worked for General Electric, and to Boston, where she also worked for GE.  And she lived for years in Utah, where she owned and operated a furniture and appliance store for 28 years, taught a business course at a community college and became involved in civic and political activities.

“I’m very pro-business,” Vosburgh said. “If business goes well, the city goes well.”

She decided to seek a two-year term on the commission because, she said, “you have to do your share.”

Harrington was a late entry into the mix, dropping off his candidate papers June 17 and qualifying June 18.

He has served on the city’s mooring field committee, which was formed to work on establishing an official anchorage and mooring field south of the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

Harrington and his wife moved to Bradenton Beach in December 2007. He is a retired law enforcement officer from Michigan.

“I decided to run for city commissioner because I am very interested in keeping Bradenton Beach in the theme that it is now, and felt the best way would be to become a city commissioner,” Harrington said. “Being retired now gives me the time to devote to Bradenton Beach.”

In Ward 2, Connors chose not to seek re-election. He said last week he needed to devote himself to other interests, specifically career interests.

“I need to pursue some activities that would take me away from the office,” said Connors, who added that he was excited about Straight’s decision to seek office.

Straight and wife Gail run Wildlife Inc., an animal rehab clinic and educational organization based out of their Avenue B home.

They moved into their home in 1973 and gradually created the a seven-day-a-week wildlife operation funded solely with donations and aided by more than a dozen volunteers who arrive for early morning and late afternoon feedings.

Straight, a reservist with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, is retired from a career in public safety. He’s a former paramedic, emergency management chief, public safety division chief and 911 center chief.

I’ve worked with pretty large budgets and so forth,” Straight said of his government experience.

He said he’d previously considered getting involved in municipal affairs, but the timing wasn’t right.

Then Connors, who lives next door to Straight, decided not to run again.

“I wanted to get more involved,” said Straight, who moved quickly to complete his paperwork last week.

“Everybody seems to be congratulating me and saying we thought you should be involved in something like that,” he said.

Bartelt, a retired firefighter and paramedic from Wisconsin, was planning to run for Ward 4 commission until June 3, when Pierce resigned, citing family concerns.

“I really am looking forward to it all,” Bartelt said of the job.

Prior to his election to the city commission, Bartelt served four years on the ScenicWAVES advisory committee, as well as on the board of the Pines Trailer Park Homeowners Association and as U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 8 finance officer.

He moved from Milwaukee to Bradenton Beach about a decade ago.

Bartelt took his oath of office as mayor June 17, though he will need to do so again in November.

The other commissioners, elected last fall, are Gay Breuler in Ward 1, and Janie Robertson in Ward 3. Robertson also is vice mayor.