SEMINOLE — Four proposed amendments to the Seminole city charter moved one step closer to the 2019 ballot during the May 28 Seminole City Council meeting. At the meeting, council members approved four ordinances — one for each amendment — upon their first public reading.
The Charter Review Committee vice chair Berny Jacques presented the proposed amendments at the May 14 council meeting. At that time, the council directed city staff to prepare the ordinances for each amendment.
At the May 28 meeting, the council approved three of these ordinances unanimously:
• Ordinance No. 05-2019, which addresses residency requirements for those serving on city council, specifying that those running for office must be a resident of the city for at least a one-year period immediately prior to qualifying.
• Ordinance No. 06-2019, which clarifies when the vice mayor is selected each year, stating that the appointment must occur at the second business meeting in November.
• Ordinance No. 08-2019, which requires the city council to pass a resolution establishing the procedure in which they will appoint members to the Charter Review Committee at the meeting prior to the appointment.
Councilor Thom Barnhorn was the sole no vote against Ordinance No. 07-2019, which says that the city clerk will perform duties as are assigned by the city manager, the city charter and state law, and deletes language providing the city council with the ability to assign duties to the city clerk.
Prior to the vote, he reiterated concerns he stated during the May 14 meeting.
“I want to say that I will be voting against this. I find it wrong that the city clerk, who has always been available and made available to the council to always do our scheduling, to maybe do a press release is going to be taken away, leaving no one for us to be able to turn to except for the overly burdened city manager, which I don’t feel comfortable doing,” he said.
City Manager Ann Toney-Deal said she doesn’t believe the proposed change to the charter will impact the relationship between the city clerk and council members.
“I don’t see your relationship, as it relates to scheduling and making reservations and things that are non-policy in nature, changing,” she said.
The second reading of these ordinances will take place June 11. Once approved, the council will pass a resolution to send the proposed charter amendments to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections to be put on the November ballot.