Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Marsden Moves in to City's Top Job

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Marsden Moves in to City's Top Job

Article excerpt

There was no fanfare when Bob Marsden was sworn in as mayor of

Jacksonville Beach on Sunday. Instead, the small, somber event

was overshadowed by the death of Mayor Bill Latham only four

days earlier.

As mayor pro tem, Marsden became mayor when Latham died as a

result of a heart attack he suffered on May 10. The mayor pro

tem is picked from the six members of the Jacksonville Beach

City Council and fills in for the mayor in the event of absence,

disability or death.

"The mayor pro tem is almost like the vice president. He's a

heartbeat away," said Jacksonville Beach City Clerk Bruce

Corbitt.

The mayor pro tem is typically picked for a two-year term,

Corbitt said. Marsden, 69, estimated that he's served as mayor

pro tem for about 10 of the almost 20 years he's been on the

council.

Marsden and his wife, Jackie, moved to Jacksonville Beach from

El Reno, Okla., about 42 years ago. Marsden, who was discharged

from the Army as a staff sergeant in 1952, first became involved

with local politics in the mid1970s when he ran for a City

Council seat, a move he attributes to his involvement with the

Beaches Area Chamber of Commerce. Marsden served on the council

from 1976 to 1983.

Before Marsden was first elected to the council more than 20

years ago, downtown night spots, particularly those that offered

topless dancing, were thriving. Marsden and his Chamber of

Commerce friends, who formed an antipornography league, helped

spur the anti-nudity legislation that forced topless bars out of

the city. They also forced the only porno shop in Jacksonville

Beach out of business.

In 1983, Marsden left the council for several years and made an

unsuccessful bid for mayor. He ran for a council seat again in

1987 and has served on the council since then. Marsden was most

recently re-elected to a four-year term in 1994 after defeating

Bennie Furlong, 67 percent to 32 percent.

Despite his mayoral campaign in the 1980s, Marsden said he

didn't plan to run for mayor again and was pleased with the work

Latham had done as mayor. …

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