BRADENTON BEACH -- Bradenton Beach officially has a new mayor.
Former Vice Mayor Jack Clarke was sworn in Monday afternoon in front of city employees, residents and several other elected officials, including Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy, Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson and Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie.
Stephen G. Perry, a partner at law firm Blalock Walters, was asked by Clarke to swear him in. Clarke, appearing nervous, held up his right hand and took the oath of office.
"This is unexpectedly emotional," Clarke told the crowd, who chuckled in response. "Without my wife Karen's support, I wouldn't be here today. Without the support of city staff and employees, I couldn't be here today. Our local merchants were (an) invaluable resource and, through their efforts, helped make this day possible."
Clarke was named mayor-elect May 19 after winning a tight race with just 13 more votes than now-ousted May
or William Shearon. Shearon did not attend the swearing-in ceremony.
The recall election closed a chapter begun late last year when a petition committee to recall Shearon was formed. Documents sent to the city listed longtime Bradenton Beach resident Peter Barreda as chairman of the Committee to Recall William Shearon.
Since last year, Bradenton Beach Commission meetings have been high tension. In mid-September, Clarke listed examples of what he said were Shearon's failures, including city staffing issues, lack of transparency and hostile work environment claims.
Bradenton Beach Commissioner Jan Vosburgh, who supported efforts to oust Shearon, said she was thrilled about Clarke being the city's new mayor.
"This is going to be a new beginning for Bradenton Beach," an emotional Vosburgh said. "It's going to be wonderful for the city, wonderful for the citizens of Bradenton Beach. We're going to go on and do the job we're supposed to do."
The commissioner believes Clarke will do a good job as mayor because, she said, he's very organized and kind to others.
"He knows how to manage people -- knows how to get along with people," Vosburgh said.
After the ceremony, Clarke was greeted by many wanting to shake his hand in congratulations.
"We've completed the first part of the journey and, going forth from here, we're going to make Bradenton Beach the kind of city that everybody's proud to live in," the new mayor said.
He added that he's glad a chapter is closed.
"What I've learned and what I've done in this brief period since the election... I absolutely am going to run in November," Clarke said, adding that he took a packet already from the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office. "I'm going to put things right and make a demonstrable difference in the city for everybody to see -- both the residents and the visitors."
Shearon has said he plans to run for mayor again in November.
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.