From left are newly sworn-in Indian Shores council members Michael Petruccelli, Diantha Schear, and Ellen Bauer. Schear was elected vice mayor.

INDIAN SHORES — During the last few days of Women’s History Month, Indian Shores swore in Ellen Bauer as the new member of the Town Council and reelected incumbent Vice Mayor Diantha Schear to her leadership role at a March 28 special council meeting.

“This is not the first time there have been two women on the Town Council,” said Schear in a recent interview. The last time was when Carole Irelan and Joan Herndon were on the council together more than a decade ago.

Official results of the March 14 municipal election were announced. There were 157 election day votes and 403 mail ballots.

Of the three running for the two council positions up for election, the results were Bauer, 256 votes, or 45.7%; Michael A. “Mike” Petruccelli, 183 votes, or 32.7%; and Michael W. Hackerson, 121 votes, or 21.6%.

Hackerson had served on the council for five years and Petruccelli has served nearly a decade. Petruccelli and Bauer will be serving 3-year terms each.

Bauer is originally from Buffalo, New York and has been a homeowner owner in Indian Shores since 2003.

She is a member of the Indian Shores Property Owners Association, Indian Shores Women’s Club, American Legion Post 527, Random Acts of Flower-Dunedin and many other organizations. She was president and chief executive of Bauer’s Eden Valley Furniture from 1994-2018 and The Petal Pusher Inc. from 1977-1994.

Bauer said as a council member she would “work for the continuing good government of our town, be a partner with all council members, work with and support the police department, continue to support our town library, work in harmony with town hall staff, and represent property owners and voters.”

Once the oath of office was administered to newly elected officials Bauer and Petruccelli, the new Town Council was in place for the election of the vice mayor for 2023-2024. 

At the last Town Council meeting earlier in the month, the new process for electing the vice mayor had been established. At that time incumbent Vice Mayor Schear and council member Petruccelli had each formally expressed their desire to run for vice mayor. 

Members of the new Town Council were given paper ballots, which were submitted to Town Clerk Freddie Lozano, who read the results aloud. Petruccelli voted for himself, Schear voted for herself, and Mayor Patrick Soranno, council member Bill Smith, and Bauer all voted for Schear, who won by a vote of 4-1.