The Charter Review Committee voted tonight against a proposal to change the Sarasota Charter to have a directly elected mayor.
Two members of the 7 person committee voted in favor of an elected mayor and the other 5 voted against the proposal. Members Shelton and Luzier voted for the elected mayor proposal.
Until tonight's action, all the preliminary votes had favored changing to an elected mayor.
During the charter review process, many citizens had spoken against having an elected mayor, citing a variety of reasons. Similar proposals had been voted down by the electorate three times in recent years.
Recent issues with negative ads, "dirty politics", issues concerning listening to residents as opposed to developers, probably all played a role in the decision.
One member of the committee indicated that community members spent significant time speaking with the Charter Review Committee and gave many arguments for their beliefs - primarily that Sarasota should not have a directly elected mayor. This input was discussed openly and critically. The discussions lead to the decision that was ultimately reached.
In this case the process worked well. There was good citizen input, the committee members listened to the input, they applied their own personal knowledge and expertise and made a decision based on all the input. The decision was made in the interest of the community.
Thanks to all those that worked long hours on this process: committee members, staff and citizens. Your service and commitment to making our city an excellent city is appreciated.