Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is the City Council Even Interested in Approving of a “Strong Mayor”?

Barring any shenanigans at tomorrow’s City Council meeting, the Charter Review Committee should be able to move ahead with its mission and put forth a recommendation on how Pensacola’s charter should be amended. Many observers think the CRC will eventually recommend a charter that will let Pensacola have a “strong mayor”.

Mark O’Brien wrote an op-ed in today’s PNJ that says, “Some want a "strong mayor" with more centralized clout than the current system of council members setting policy while a city manager handles day-to-day matters.”

I agree with “some”. Recommending a strong mayor for city hall is what the Charter Review Committee should do. After recommending it, the City Council should vote in it.

But, there’s one question that has not been asked. Is the City Council even interested in having a strong mayor? I don't think so.

The City Council would have to give up their power to the mayor because he or she would have to approve of everything the council passes. Right now, the City Council’s decisions are binding when they vote. This wouldn’t be the case with a strong mayor. All of the city council’s decisions would have to be approved by the mayor's office.

Is any one asking their councilman if they're interested in approving the recommendation of a strong mayor?

3 comments:

Sam Hall said...

The thing that is so interesting about this Charter Review Commission is that even if the City Council does not adopt it, the citizens can on their own.

Should Council take no action, then 10% of the registered voters signatures would be required.

However, if the Council voted against adopting the CRCs recommendation, and opinions on this differ, city voters could petition with a 15% requirement.

The reason for the difference of opinion Chris is that some feel a negative vote by the Council equals NO ACTION, which leaves the threshold at 10%. Others believe the negative vote equals an ACTION by Council, which requires 15% to overturn.

I don't know the answer.

Chris Olson said...

"The reason for the difference of opinion Chris is that some feel a negative vote by the Council equals NO ACTION, which leaves the threshold at 10%. Others believe the negative vote equals an ACTION by Council, which requires 15% to overturn."

Has there not been any case law on this? Has the city contacted Florida's Attorney General's office? Other cities in Florida have asked them questions about their charter review process and the AG's office posted the answers on their website. Maybe they would be able to clear up this issue.

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