TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa City Council members selected Lynn Hurtak Tuesday to fill former Councilman John Dingfelder’s spot in District 3.
The spot became vacant after Dingfelder resigned in March amid a lawsuit and an ethics investigation. His resignation was part of a settlement agreement.
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Council Members heard from 23 candidates during Tuesday's special meeting. The candidates had about two minutes to speak about their qualifications, goals, and why they'd be best for the role.
After a first-round vote, the field was narrowed down to two people: Meredith Freeman and Lynn Hurtak. In the end, Council Members chose Hurtak for the job.
“What separated me is that Council knows me. I come in front of them to speak. I’ve sat with them on other boards and commissions," said Hurtak after her appointment. "The council thought highly enough of me. One of them recommended me for the Variance Review Board. Mayor Jane Castor was nice enough to appoint me twice to that board. I have learned so much on my time on that board that I believe will absolutely help me.”
According to her application, Hurtak said she's a technical editor and consultant and currently serves on the Variance Review Board. Hurtak told ABC Action News one of her priorities is affordable housing.
When sworn in, Hurtak will be the only woman serving on Tampa City Council among six men.
“That’s what the voters chose, and so that’s the way it ended up, but I think this is a good time to right that," said Hurtak.
Her selection comes as some on City Council have dealt with controversy. Aside from Dingfelder's resignation, Council Member Orlando Gudes faces sexual harassment allegations.
“I have a track record of getting along with others," said Hurtak. "I’m deeply ethical and Council knows that, and I think that was a huge point in my favor. I’m going to do the right thing. That’s just who I am. That’s the way my parents raised me, and giving back to the community is a big part of who I am.”
Before Tuesday's special meeting, Councilman Luis Viera described holding a public office as a patriotic endeavor.
“You’re going to take time away from your private sector life because you want to give back to the community and I think all of these people who have applied, they are demonstrating, by the virtue of applying, that sentiment,” he said.
“What I’m looking at among many other things is temperament, professionalism, demonstrated values, demonstrated ability, demonstrated involvement in the community,” Viera said. “I think all of those things are important. I believe building bridges is very important, having an ability to deescalate things is very important and at the same time being forceful for your own values.”
Hurtak will be sworn in at City Council's meeting on Thursday, April 7.