Bradenton City Council names Gallo vice mayor
BRADENTON -- The Bradenton City Council took an unusually early action Wednesday in voting 5-0 to name Ward 1 Councilman Gene Gallo vice mayor for the coming year.
Ward 4 Councilman Bemis Smith said the last meeting of the year was the appropriate time to nominate Gallo as a way to honor the long-time councilman, fire chief and firefighter, who began his career with the city fire department in 1960. Gallo, who is retiring at the end of next year, worked his way up to chief and retired in 1990 only to realize his service to the city wasn't over when he was elected to the city council in 1991.
The vice mayor assumes the role of mayor in the event he is unable to perform his duties and acts as the council chairman in the mayor's absence.
Smith's motion didn't go uncontested as Ward 2 Councilman Patrick Roff said expressed concern about compliance with the city charter.
"The charter states the vice mayor is chosen at the first meeting of the next year," said Roff. "I see doing this now as a violation of the charter."
City Attorney Bill Lisch said the motion was valid as long as the city ratified it in January, bringing the action into compliance with the charter.
Mayor Wayne Poston said it was an appropriate Christmas gift to the Gallo family.
"It's been an honor having him working for the city and I think this is an appropriate action," said Poston.
Roff voted in favor of the motion, but said: "We need to have a charter discussion. I've been asking for it for 10 years."
Gallo thanked the council for the gesture.
"It will and always has been a great honor to serve with you gentleman."
Gallo said he is retiring to enjoy time with his family. Gallo's successor on the council will be elected in November.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.