Thursday, May 23, 2013

Charter Mama Says Mayor Must Attend Council Meetings

Origin of the Myth

Back before Mayor Hayward ever took the oath of office as Mayor, PNJ reporter Jamie Page inquired as to the charter statement regarding the Mayor's attendance at Council.

He asked Crystal Spencer, Chair of the Charter Commission, whether the intent of the commission was to require the Mayor to attend Council meetings.

His quote from the Charter Mama was that it is both a "duty and requirement" and challenges Rusty Wells on it.

Amazing how the Spencer's opinions change as soon as Mayor Hayward refuses to eat his peas and do as required.

Charter Mama Says Yes


CJ Lewis said...

The Charter's Section 4.01.(a)(11) language was taken directly from the Hialeah Charter whose Mayor attends all meetings of the City Council. I and Councilwoman Myers have several times spoken with Hialeah to confirm that its Mayor Hernandez does attend all meetings of the Council. As I recall, the City Clerk told Myers, "If the Mayor doesn't attend the meetings, how does he know what's going on?" Exactly. By design, Mayor Hayward is clueless.

When WEAR Channel 3's Christina Leavenworth did a report about "The Missing Mayor," Hayward defended himself saying that he had a legal opinion telling him he did not have to attend Council meetings. I submitted a public records request but only received one of these three e-mails. I have no idea why the City withheld the other two. Hayward has extended the advice of Wells, who he soon fired and then put back on the payroll, to mean that he has no constitutional duty to exercise his constitutional powers. This led to the resulting dust-up about the innocent conjunction "and." Bottom line, Wells was a fool of a City Attorney and anyone who relied on his advice suffered the consequences.

For the record, Crystal Spencer did appear before the Council in early 2011 when Hayward's absences first started to undermine the workings of the Mayor-Council form of government. I very clearly remember her saying that it was the expectation of the Charter Review Commission that the Mayor would attend all meetings of the City Council as required by the Charter. If she has since changed her tune then she is lying.

There is no right or wrong answer about the Mayor's role in a Mayor-Council government ranging from the Mayor being a member of the Council and its leader all the way to the other extreme in Tampa where the Mayor has no duty to attend Council meetings and no authority to participate in Council discussions. In-between are many variations. I would have preferred the Charleston model where the Mayor serves on the Council as the undisputed leader of the city government.

I believe that was the original intent of the Charter Review Commission, until Spencer and John Peacock hijacked it, was for the Mayor to be on the Council. Then a Marcus Pointe-resident, Peacock told me he was directing the Charter review process from the sidelines on behalf of those he described as "important area businessmen." Peacock told me that he did not want the Mayor to be part of the Council so that the Mayor could twist the arms of Council members out-of-the-Sunshine.

It now seems clear that at the top of the list of Charter amendments should be to put the Mayor back on the Council in the process making the Mayor subject to recall from office by city voters under State law. Hayward has said that most of what happens at Council meetings is not "important" to him so by default he is not well suited to serve on the Council or as Mayor in a better Mayor-Council government.

Anonymous said...

I thought they had somewhat conceded that fact, but are now leaning on the fact that the Mayor has designated that "duty" to the City Administrator who does attend all meetings of the Council? when you know you can't win with one argument, go with a different one.....

so the new question, does the charter permit the mayor to designate this duty to others?

Anonymous said...

The real story here is that the PNJ and specifically Nate Monroe are sad sad sad pathetic excuses for journalists.

Jamie Page proved that a true journalist would seek the truth.

The editors are obviously co-opted by Ginny's relationship. However Nate has no such personal excuse and is completely aware of the boy prince's incompetence and transgressions. Nate will not have a golden Gannett parachute to fall back on and will therefore be terribly hurt professionally when the truth breaks through various legal fronts, which I guarantee will happen much sooner than later.

Frankly, Nate has confided as much to friends but does not have the moral courage to do what he knows is right. He will certainly regret his dereliction.

Anonymous said...

Charles Bare for Mayor

Anonymous said...

The Pensacola City Charter, Article 4.01 a)
(11) To attend all meetings of the City Council with authority to participate in discussions, but without power to vote. - I do not understand how that is open to debate? There is only one meaning for that statement.