About 40 people attended the Charter Review meeting and 16 gave input at the session this evening.
Many spoke in favor of retaining the present system, indicating that an elected mayor is not needed or desired. Members of the business community favored an elected mayor with some proposing a strong mayor quite similar to the proposal that was voted down 4 years ago.
It was apparent that there is much dissatisfaction with the current commission. Whether this is related to the form of government or the particular commissioners was a matter of opinion.
Issues that bring dissatisfaction that were mentioned are:
- No sense of who is in charge
- Poor communication with constituents
- End runs around staff
- Commissioners act as "know it alls" (don’t listen)
- No specific goals and objectives (and no review of progress)
- Bickering with, and undermining of, fellow commissioners
- No accountability
- City manager not accountable to voters
Other comments included:
- Sarasota is top heavy with administrators compared to cities our size - referred to city managers office.
- Commissioners should not make more than the average wage for city residents (about $23,000)
- Coral Gables would be a city to look at - they are our size and have good leadership and the voters are happy
The Review Committee did not discuss the public input.
The next meeting will be 1:30 PM on Wednesday (Aug 2). A representative from the Florida League of Cities will give a presentation about forms of local government and answer questions.
The remain schedule of meetings is given here.