Bradenton Beach voters went status quo — sort of — in the only city office up for election on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Voters retained Janet Vosburgh for city commission in Ward 4, which runs from First Street North to the city’s southern boundary. Vosburgh was the incumbent in the race. However, she also was
campaigning for her first elected office.
The Island businesswoman was appointed to the Ward 4 commission seat in June, replacing Bob Bartelt, who was appointed mayor following the resignation of Michael Pierce.
Bartelt will continue to serve as mayor — he ran unopposed Nov. 2.
Also unopposed was Ed Straight for the Ward 2 commission seat held by outgoing Commissioner Bob Connors, who decided not to seek re-election.
The three newly elected officeholders will be sworn in during a brief ceremony at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.
Vosburgh’s opponent was Michael Harrington, a member of the city mooring and anchorage committee and frequent attendee of city meetings.
Vosburgh received 273 votes — 60 percent — to Harrington’s 182 in the contest for the two-year term.
When election judges Nov. 2 unlocked the door to Tingley Memorial Library, the city’s only polling place, about a dozen people waited to vote.
Vosburgh was among the early voters. She then moved to the 100 block of Gulf Drive North and joined supporters waving signs.
She said, with hesitation that morning, friends assured her that she would be the day’s winner.
“You never know,” she added. But by the end of the night, voters proved her friends correct.
Vosburgh is a former member of the city’s charter review commission. Within weeks of her appointment to the city commission, she was in the Nov. 2 race for the seat.
The 12th Street South resident who owns an accommodations business on the Island, campaigned with the motto, “Taking action, getting results.”
She emphasized her fiscal conservatism and business acumen as she sought citizen support for her candidacy throughout the city.
“I have an extensive business background,” said Vosburgh. “I have excellent people and management skills. I enjoy problem solving — through listening, utilizing my organizational skills and implementing a plan to resolve.”
In her former home state of Utah, Vosburgh ran a successful furniture store and served as vice president of the Utah Chamber of Commerce — work that helped her earn a Utah Citizen of the Year Award.
Harrington, a resident of Church Avenue, is a retired law enforcement officer and facilities manager.
Like Vosburgh, throughout his campaign Harrington stressed his business experience.
He also demonstrated his fiscal restraint with a low-key campaign, refusing to accept campaign contributions. His most recent finance report shows $700 in contributions — his own — to Vosburgh’s $2,103.
Harrington campaigned with a promise to be a dedicated representative. He told The Islander, in a candidate Q&A, that citizens should vote for him because “I have the experience for just this type of position and feel that experience is very important in dealing with the issues.”
On Election Day, Harrington said he ran the campaign he wanted to run.
“It’s been a fun trip,” he said, adding that he waited out the day — and the results — at home.
“I ran a very clean campaign and said nothing derogatory about my opponent,” Harrington said.
He added, “I felt that the important thing was to get elected on our merits and experience. I had nothing to hide. I still think Jan is a very nice woman.”
Bradenton Beach is the only city on the Island to elect commissioners from geographic wards. A charter review committee earlier this year explored a possible change to the ward system, but decided not to make a proposal.
Vosburgh, as a member of the committee and later as a commissioner, stressed her faith in the ward system.
“It’s much better to have someone right in your neighborhood” as a representative, she said.
In Bradenton Beach, the commission salary is $4,800 a year and the mayor’s salary is $9,600 a year.