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Time nears for Anna Maria charter review

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Anna Maria Mayor Mike Selby reminded commissioners at the end of their June 28 meeting that a charter review committee would be formed in the near future. The charter requires a committee review every five years, and the last committee met in 2008.

Selby said there are some gaps in the charter, particularly how long an appointed commissioner serves.

Former Commissioner Tom Aposporos, who chaired the 2003 and 2008 charter review committees, spoke briefly and said the charter was “forward thinking,” and the “gaps” Selby referred to were easily fixed.

He said the term of the commissioner appointed by the commission to replace the commissioner who becomes commission chair — and thus the mayor — following the 2012 general election is an “extraordinary situation.”

The charter specifies that if there were no candidates for mayor — as is the case in 2012 — the new commission elects a chair and that person automatically becomes mayor of the city. That means, however, that the commissioner named mayor loses the right to vote on the commission.

At the same time, the charter calls for the remaining four commissioners to “appoint” a fifth commissioner, then elect a commission chair and vice chair.

Another “situation” is that former elected officials need to wait one year before running for office, Aposporos said.

“That does not refer to a former elected official being appointed to the commission,” he noted.

City attorney Jim Dye said he was preparing a list of “options” for consideration by the current commissioners to undertake to resolve some of the charter questions. His list will be presented at the July 12 commission meeting.

Commissioner SueLynn, also formerly mayor, said she would like the mayor to have a vote in any new charter change.

“But that would mean the mayor couldn’t talk to commissioners as now,” said Commission Chair Chuck Webb.

Selby suggested that, because the commission will have to appoint a fifth commissioner at its post-election November  organizational meeting, the city should now seek interested people.

Dye said there is “wisdom in the process (of appointing a commissioner) to create transparency. I think the formal process is a good idea, but people can still put their hat in the ring.”

Webb said that the city’s website should contain information for anyone interested in being an appointed commissioner.

“I think we should get the word out now for anyone who wants to be a commissioner, although this may be just a one-year term,” Webb said.

The 2003 charter approved by the electorate established a city commission-mayor form of government and removed the mayor as a voting member of the commission.

SueLynn was mayor during the 2003 charter change and recommended its approval.

Dye said, however, that the first order of business for the commission is to establish the length of term for the appointed commissioner. He said he would study the charter to ensure this can be accomplished by ordinance.

Any substantive changes to the charter, such as allowing the mayor to have a vote, must be approved by the electorate, Dye reminded the commission.

One Response to Time nears for Anna Maria charter review

  1. Tom Aposporos says:

    There is a portion of your recent story on the Anna Maria Charter that reads as follows:

    Another “situation” is that former elected officials need to wait one year before running for office, Aposporos said.
    “That does not refer to a former elected official being appointed to the commission,” he noted.

    The reference to “running for office” is incorrect. I referred to City Charter Article III, Legislative Section 3.06 (b) which reads, “No former elected City official shall hold any compensated City office or City employment until (1) year after the expiration of the term in which he or she was elected.” I explained to the Commission that this section refers to being hired to a non-elected office or other employment by the City of Anna Maria, which is disallowed by the Charter unless one year has elapsed from the expiration of the elected term. The section does not refer to a current elected official seeking re-election, seeking another City elected office, or being appointed to a vacant City elected office.

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