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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 13, 2009 12 years ago

First resident in waiting, and waiting

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It may not be that unusual for a big city mayor-elect to have to wait a couple months to take office. But it's the first time for the city of St. Petersburg.

It may not be that unusual for a big city mayor-elect to have to wait a couple months to take office. But it's the first time for the city of St. Petersburg.

The city charter was amended after Mayor Rick Baker was elected in 2001. But because of the re-election of Baker four years ago, the new charter provision hadn't been tested until now.

Mayor-elect Bill Foster, 46, and city staff are trying to figure out office arrangements in City Hall or another off-site location while Foster waits to take the reins from Baker Jan. 2. The one paragraph in the charter dealing with elections and terms is silent on such things.

For now, Foster is relegated to the Municipal Services Center on Central Avenue in a 1,100 square foot wing on the mezzanine level. He'd prefer to be in City Hall where he could be closer to the people he needs to work with to provide a smooth transition, even telling the St. Pete Times he'd be OK with being in the basement next to a vending machine as long as it was in City Hall.

In any event, it shouldn't be too difficult of a transition for Foster. He served on the city council from 1999 to 2008, including two years as council chair, a position requiring a close working relationship with the mayor and staff.

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