DUNEDIN – Three candidates for Dunedin City Commission seats are unopposed for the Nov. 4 election. Two incumbents will vie for mayor.
Because no other candidates qualified to run against them, Bruce Livingston will take Seat 1; Deborah Kynes, Seat 2; and John Tornga, Seat 4. The qualifying period for city races ended at noon June 16.
Commissioners Julie Scales, who currently holds Seat 1, and Julie Ward Bujalski, who holds Seat 4, announced they would run for mayor after Mayor Dave Eggers entered the race for Pinellas County Commission District 4.
Commissioner Ron Barnette announced in February he would not seek re-election for Seat 2.
John Tornga is president, CEO and a founder of Capital Data Consulting Inc.
He is president of the Spanish Trails Homeowner’s Association and a member of the Dunedin Boat Club. Tornga was a U.S. Marine Corps officer and is Vietnam War veteran. He is married and has two children.
“Dunedin has been designated as one of the best cities to live and work. This occurred through the support of many individuals, organizations, and those that have gone before us. I want us to continue the support of each of the elements that help us to earn these designations,” Tornga said, on his website. “Dunedin currently faces a number of challenges including serious fiscal, financial challenges. I am capable, ready, and willing to help guide and support Dunedin through these challenges while ensuring the continued support of programs and services that advance our culture and community.”
Livingston is president of the Boyd Industries Inc., which manufactures specialty dental and medical equipment.
He is the board chairman of the Clearwater Free Clinic, a member of the Rotary Club of Dunedin North and a board member of the Salvation Army Clearwater Corps, among his civic activities.
He served on the Dunedin Code Enforcement Board from 2000 to 2008 and the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Citizen Advisory Committee from 2010 to 2011.
He is married and has two sons.
“When I learned of Commissioner Barnette’s desire to retire and not run again, coupled with a mayoral race that would involve two experienced commissioners, I felt the time was right for someone with my skill set to offer my services to our city,” Livingston said, in an email.
“I have been very fortunate to have owned a successful small business locally that taught me valuable skills from budgeting, to thriving in good times and being conservative in bad ones. These business skills, I feel will be a very valuable skill set for our commission,” Livingston said.
Deborah Kynes was a city commissioner from 1999-2009. She is an attorney for Harper, Kynes, Geller, Greenleaf, & Frayman, P.A.
Kynes serves on the Florida Humanities Council Board, Pinellas Center for Girls board of directors, Institute for Strategic Public Policy Solutions and the Dunedin Fine Arts Center Advisory Board, among her civic activities.
She is married and has two children.
“Dunedin is my home and I have lived here since 1979. We need someone we can trust to preserve our unique quality of life, promote healthy neighborhoods, and continue economic opportunities for our businesses,” Kynes said on her website.
Julie Scales was elected to the commission in 2003. She has practiced public finance law at Holland & Knight and at the Pinellas County Attorney’s Office, where she also served as counsel to a variety of departments and boards. She is a member of the Florida, Clearwater and St. Petersburg Bar Associations.
She is past chair of the Dunedin Charter Review Committee and the Dunedin Ordinance Review Committee. She is also past board member of the Dunedin Friends of the Library, Dunedin Board of Finance and has served on the Committee on Environmental Quality.
Scales is past president of the Dunedin Rotary Club, Dunedin Fine Art Center and Pinellas Center for Girls. She has served on the board of directors for the Florida League of Women Voters, among her civic activities. She is married.
On the City Commission, Scales has been committed to neighborhood improvement, environmental stewardship, “smart” growth, responsible economic development and prudent and transparent budgets, information about her on the city’s website said.
“I know I have the experience,” Scales said. “I know I have the leadership. I think it’s very important that as we move into a time when there will be changes in Dunedin - we’ve already seen some recently – it’s important that someone be at the helm who has demonstrated their commitment to the city, who has demonstrated they can get something done and also in a manner consistent with decorum and common sense," she said.
Julie Ward Bujalski
Julie Ward Bujalski was elected to the commission in April 2006 and is serving her third term.
She spent 20 years in the fashion industry where she worked as a buyer, product developer, merchandise manager, and retired from her career as an economic forecaster/planner.
She currently serves as liaison to the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and has recently been appointed by her peers as treasurer/secretary of the board. She also serves as the chairman of its planning committee. Ward Bujalski is PSTA’s representative to the Metropolitan Planning Organization as well as a committee member of both the Advisory Council on Pinellas Transit and the Greenlight Pinellas Council.
She is married and has one child.
Ward Bujalski additionally serves as Dunedin’s liaison to the Pinellas County School Board and Dunedin’s public and private schools, where she hosts quarterly principals’ meetings to help bring school officials, City officials, and the business community together to better serve Dunedin’s youth, the website said.
“I’m running for Mayor because I believe we need a passionate leader who will help set the right tone for Dunedin,” said Ward Bujalski, in an email. “Not only has my family been here for generations, I grew up in Dunedin and have raised my family here. I’ve spent eight years representing our residents on the Commission and have a keen understanding about Dunedin’s unique way of life.”
“We are facing many regional issues including negotiations with the Toronto Blue Jays and working with the county on a compatible bridge replacement on Dunedin Causeway. My professional experience in economic forecasting, strong relationship building skills, and proactive leadership serving as a commission liaison to many local and regional organizations has given me the tools to lead our community into the future,” Ward-Bujalski said.
Kynes and Tornga will serve four-year terms. Livingston will serve a two-year term as will the winner of the mayor’s race.
The election is Tuesday, Nov. 4. The winners will be sworn in Monday, Nov. 17.
Corrected date that Scales was elected to Dunedin Commission.