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City council members honored for their service

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Vice-Mayor Blake Bell presented each member with a separate resolution to recognize their efforts to make policies and decisions for the betterment of the community.

Three members of the Brooksville City Council were honored in separate resolutions at the November 21, 2022, regular meeting. Vice Mayor Blake Bell recognized Betty Erhard, Robert Battista, and Mayor Pat Brayton for their devotion and efforts to make the best decisions for the city and its people. Their terms of service end on December 5, 2022.

Betty Erhard served two four-year terms on the council, beginning in December 2014. She served as Mayor in 2018. “It’s bittersweet, 8 years has been a long time,” Erhard said. “From red light cameras to marijuana dispensaries, fluoride, going paperless — look at this!” Erhard said, indicating the screens on the dais, rather than binders. “It came true, finally.”

Erhard reminisced of the city’s other achievements through the years, “We’ve done a lot in eight years, and I’m very proud of that. I may not have always been popular in the decisions, but I’m proud to have stood by… and being a good stewardess of the taxpayers’ money. That was the most important job up here, and I took it very seriously.”

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“Thank you,” Erhard said in closing. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve.”

Robert Battista also served eight years, beginning his term in December 2014. In 2017, he served as Mayor. Before his city council career, Battista was Brooksville’s city attorney from 1995 to 2002 and again from 2011 to 2012 as an Associate with the Hogan Law Firm.
“Yes, this was quite a hoot for eight years. I agree with Betty, this is not an honorarium to sit up here. This is a job, you don’t get paid a whole lot for it. I don’t know anybody who sat up here because the money was so good.”

Battista gave advice to incoming council members, and possibly to anyone who may consider running for the office; “You have to be thinking of other, bigger things to do. The city is eleven-and-a-half square miles. There’s a lot going on… Think broadly, and I’m sure you all will be very successful.”

Pat Brayton began his term on December 3, 2018, and is currently serving his second term as mayor. His public service career began in 1994 when he served six years as a city council member until 2000. Brayton was also a city employee, starting in 1972 as assistant finance director, and was promoted to city clerk/finance director, where he worked until 1980.

“I’ve just enjoyed this four years. I never thought I’d be back on the Council again after the 90s, and it was a privilege to be elected back then.” Brayton recalled his disagreements over matters with other council members. “You’re not always going to agree, and if you do, you’re doing something wrong.”

Brayton expressed his appreciation for his colleagues, City Manager Ron Snowberger, City Clerk Jennifer Battista, and especially city staff. “I really want to give a great ‘thank you’ to the staff. Without the quality staff that the city has, we’d have a problem. Staff is important. People are important. They mean a lot.”

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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