SEMINOLE – City councilors made it official Nov. 13 when they voted unanimously for Chris Burke to fill an empty seat on the Seminole City Council.
Burke had earlier been nominated for the opening at a city workshop and his final approval was procedural. He will be sworn in on Nov. 27.
“I’d like to thank all the people that voted for me in the last election,” Burke said. “The 995 votes I got … I just want them to know it was not in vain. I’d also like to thank the folks that donated to my campaign. I’m pleased the council chose me to fill the vacancy and supported the democratic process in doing so.”
Burke said he believes the biggest issue facing the city in the coming months will be funding the firefighters pension fund in fiscal 2014.
Burke is filling a seat vacated by councilor Leslie Waters who moved into the mayor’s seat when Jimmy Johnson resigned Nov. 2 due to health reasons. Waters will be up for re-election in March.
Because Burke finished third in the last three city elections, councilors felt he was best suited to fill the seat.
Last March, Burke finished third among five candidates seeking two council seats. In 2011, he was third out of four candidates seeking two seats and in 2010 he was third out of seven candidates seeking two council seats.
Burke, 48, is a 33-year Seminole resident. He and his wife Maureen have two teenage daughters and attend St. Jerome Catholic Church.
Burke is employed as a sergeant with the Largo Police Department and is a coach of the Seminole under-16 girls soccer team.
He is a past president of the Quail Ridge Homeowners Association and past chairman of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic School board.
Burke is a native of Hopkinton, Mass. He and his family moved to Pinellas County in 1979 where he graduated from Seminole High School in 1982.
He is a decorated U.S. Army veteran and Gulf War veteran and was nominated for the Bronze Star during the first Gulf War.
Burke started with the city of Largo in 1989 as a police dispatcher and later as a dispatch supervisor.
He graduated magna cum laude from both St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history.
In other action, councilors:
• Passed a resolution setting overdue fines at the Seminole Community Library. The late material fine will be 20 cents per day with a maximum of $5 per item.
• Passed a resolution revising the Recreation Center fees policy. In a change from the past, the city is now offering a nonresident family membership for $360, a program access fee for nonresidents consisting of the regular program fee and a 50 percent surcharge, a surcharge for nonmembers to use the Aquatic Center, and a rental fee schedule for use of the band shell and park pavilions.
• Approved the expenditure of $60,000 for the purchase and installation of three Motorola ACE 3600 fire station alerting systems to replace existing decoders at three stations and seven fire station/EOC radios to replace existing equipment.
• Approved spending up to $8,000 for the audio visual control room air conditioning system.
• Authorized City Manager Frank Edmunds to enter into an agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for a $200,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant. The grant provides the city with matching funds for its recent purchase of the former Jesse’s Landing property, now referred to as Waterfront Park.