Clearwater City Council to appoint new city manager, discuss ranked-choice voting

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — The Clearwater City Council will meet Monday to address two topics that will affect the future of the city.

According to the meeting’s agenda, councilmembers plan to appoint a new city manager and will also discuss adding ranked-choice voting to its elections.

Jon Jennings is expected to step into the role that was previously held by city manager Bill Horne for more than two decades. Horne died unexpectedly on Sept. 3, weeks before his retirement. He is believed to have suffered a heart attack.

“Bill led this city with incredible integrity, very responsible fiscally, responsible, the city is in marvelous shape,” Mayor Frank Hibbard told 8 On Your Side following news of his passing.

Jennings was selected by councilmembers to fill the role. He had served as the city manager in Portland, Maine since 2015.

Councilmembers will also discuss adding ranked-choice voting to its elections. The voting system was used in New York for elections in 2021. It lets voters list their most-preferred candidate to their least-preferred candidate. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the first choice spots, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Those ballots then go to the second-choice candidate. The process will repeat until there’s a clear winner.

According to Ballotpedia, Sarasota has approved ranked-choice voting for their elections, but it’s not currently in use.

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