Six of St. Petersburg's eight city council members have rebuffed Mayor Bill Foster and endorsed Rick Kriseman in this year's mayoral race. They have a variety of reasons, which Foster lumps together and dismisses as budgetary disappointments.
"Yeah, I've had to be the one to stand between council members and their own projects, and we had to do more with less, and we did," Foster told FOX 13 News, repeating an explanation voiced last week at a public appearance, "I was the 'No Guy' to city council and at least six of them did not take it well."
However, that explanation does not address concerns voiced by city council chair Karl Nurse.
"I got to experience the difference between the management and leadership style of [former mayor] Rick Baker and Bill Foster," Nurse told FOX 13 News, "And candidly, Bill is a horribly ineffective manager."
Nurse, who owns a small printing company, accused Foster of not providing city managers with clear direction.
"As a result, we have several departments that are working badly, and there's really no hope of those being fixed unless we change the mayor," Nurse said.
Councilman Jeff Danner complained "I don't know what the bigger vision is, and that's what's frustrating to me."
Like Nurse and councilman Wengay Newton and Steve Kornell, Danner said neighborhood needs have been ignored.
"There's no plan to strengthen our neighborhoods, we kind of abandoned our business corridors and small business associations that are trying to improve themselves," Danner said.
Councilman Charles Gerdes had nothing negative to say about the mayor. His endorsement of Kriseman returns a favor.
"He has helped me along the way, he helped me get elected, and I just felt it was the right thing to do to help Rick get elected," Gerdes said.
Foster predicted that if he is re-elected, the current discord will fade.
"There's a big difference between politics and governing, and for the next four years, we will govern together," Foster promised.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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