Charter Review Starts Reviewing !

     The Fort Lauderdale Charter Review Board, charged with looking over the rules that govern the City, began a review tonight that has been stalled for months. After a number of false starts, things actually began to crawl forward this evening.

     Part of the hold-up has been the powerful and opinionated membership that makes up the committee. Tonight, they were all on their best behavior.  Dan Lewis, who has experience on the County’s Charter Review Board as well as the City Board, let other members take the lead. And Judy Stern, who is known as the most brazen of Broward’s political campaign consultants, kept her jabs at Lewis, her perennial foe, at a minimum.

     Much of the credit for the forward momentum seemed to belong to the new Chair, Greg Durden. He kept things civil, and seemed adept at his new post as referee.

                           The Reviewing Panel Actually Reviewing

     Despite the progress, the results were not very impressive.

     There were three items on the agenda to review, and one got passed on to the Commission (and hopefully to the voters). It was also the easiest; a citywide referendum to allow the Commission’s Auditor and the City Clerk to hire and fire their own employees, without City Manager involvement. This will make those Departments completely independent of the City Manager, and therefore loyal to the elected officials.

     The other two items that were deferred to future meetings were whether to change the City Elections to November (to coincide with Presidential Elections), and whether to allow resigning Commissioners to have a say in their replacements.

     The public was invited to comment, and the harshest comments came from Art Seitz, a well known beach activist, known for his rather outspoken style. His  comments ranged from “Let’s not have anymore morons like Keno”, to “don’t let these bums hang around for eight years”.

     The panel adjourned after about an hour and twenty minutes and agreed to meet again soon.

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