CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION
February 6, 2018
CHARTER COMMISSION: District 1 – Josh Strzalko
- Tom Boyko
- Vice Chairman Tom O’Hanlon
District 2 - Edward L. Schons
- Michelle Ertel
District 3 - Pasha Baker
District 4 - Kevin Grace
- Chairman Larry Strickler
District 5 - Robert Turnage
- James Dicks
- Michelle Smith (6:45)
ABSENT: District 2 - Colleen Hufford
District 3 - Robert O’Malley
- Robert Levy
District 4 - Bob McMillan
ATTENDEES: Nicole Guillet, County Manager
Grant Maloy, Clerk of Court & Comptroller
David Johnson, Property Appraiser
Joel Greenberg, Tax Collector
Mike Ertel, Supervisor of Elections
Dana Crosby-Collier, Attorney
Kyla Farrell, Deputy Clerk
The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION MEETING, held at 6:30 p.m., on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, in Room 3024 of the Seminole County Services Building at Sanford, Florida.
CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL
Josh Strzalko led the Pledge of Allegiance. Tom O’Hanlon called the meeting to order and confirmed that they have a quorum.
Chairman Larry Strickler indicated he has asked Mr. O’Hanlon to run the meeting tonight. He stated the Commission received his memo (copy received and filed), so they are aware that the majority of their time tonight is going to be following up on some things that came up in the last meeting and possibly things that members may bring forward at this meeting regarding issues and/or problems that may be able to be handled or improved by changing the Charter.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Tom Boyko, seconded by Michelle Ertel, to approve the Official Minutes of January 16, 2018.
All members present voted AYE.
PRESENTATION OF ISSUES REQUIRING SOLUTIONS
Mr. O’Hanlon stated the first issue is security. The Commission received a memo from Tax Collector Joel Greenberg (copy received and filed). Mr. O’Hanlon asked Mr. Greenberg to explain the memo. Mr. Greenberg summarized the memo by stating it basically goes over where the Tax Collector’s Office gets the authority to provide security for their office and what the Revenue Officers do in the security division.
Chairman Strickler indicated they also received a memo from the Sheriff’s Office (copy received and filed), and both documents are accurate. There was never an issue about the authority of anybody to do what they are doing. The question that came up was whether or not there was a more cost-effective way of providing security if the Tax Collector collaborated with the Sheriff’s Department. Mr. Greenberg replied it would cost them a lot more money to hire either a private company or to retain a Deputy from the Sheriff’s Office. Chairman Strickler responded they have not seen a cost analysis on it, but he is sure Mr. Greenberg wouldn’t have done it without doing a study.
Mr. O’Hanlon stated they are talking about the efficient utilization of taxpayer dollars. He still does not believe that having a second security system is in the best interest of the taxpayers. He opined if there is an issue with security, it is the Sheriff’s prerogative. Mr. O’Hanlon wants to provide the best service to the county’s residents in the most cost-effective manner. Mr. Boyko expressed the Constitutional Officers have their own monies that they can spend money on if they wanted to have a security officer, so that would only affect their own budget. Mr. O’Hanlon replied he doesn’t see it that way. All of the Tax Collector’s fee revenue is tax dollars. The more money the Tax Collector spends, the less money gets rebated back to the County which means taxes have to go up to cover those funds.
Ms. Ertel asked if Mr. O’Hanlon is suggesting that they put something on the ballot whether they should allow the Tax Collector to have his own security force or not. Mr. O’Hanlon answered he wants to discuss it first. Kevin Grace asked if this is a Charter issue because the Charter should be addressing the structure of government, not their means and methods of carrying it out. He does not think they want something as specific as what they are talking about in the Charter. He wondered if there is a bigger issue that is more related to the Tax Collector. Mr. O’Hanlon replied yes there is. He thinks it is just the tip of the iceberg. He explained he can see how you wouldn’t want the Property Appraiser under County government; the County wants more revenue, tell them to jack up property values. You don’t want the Sheriff reporting to the County Commission; staff made all these mistakes, but don’t charge anybody with anything or the Sheriff is fired. Then there’s the Supervisor of Elections; you don’t want the elections rigged, so you don’t want them underneath County government either. He asked how there is a conflict of interest with the Tax Collector from just being a department of the County.
Ms. Ertel stated it is her understanding that this issue is something that the Constitutional Revision Commission is taking up right now. If that proposal is approved, it will overrule anything the Charter Commission tries to do because the Constitutional Officers will have to remain independent. Dana Crosby-Collier clarified they do have a pending proposal (Proposal #13) that would essentially take away from the counties the ability to make Constitutional Officers Charter Officers. If they have already done that, which a lot of counties have, then they have until a date certain to have them revert back to Constitutional Officers. Mr. Boyko asked if the Sheriff’s Office would be agreeable to working with the Tax Collector’s Office, and Chairman Strickler explained that that is outside the purview of the Commission’s role.
Chairman Strickler suggested they not get bogged down on this issue because he has a recommendation that deals with a much bigger picture and a more collaborative way to get at any change if there is going to be a change. Edward Schons stated the question he has is would it be prudent to have an analysis to be able to discover how efficiently he is operating his office compared to the former Tax Collector. He does not know if that is within the Commission’s purview, but it would either support or not support the fact that Mr. Greenberg is operating a very efficient operation from that perspective.
Mr. O’Hanlon asked how Proposal #13 affects this Commission. Ms. Crosby-Collier answered it is impossible to say right now because the committee is still working. She will track it like she tracks legislative bills and keep an eye on how it is moving along. Essentially, the proposal would take effect January 5, 2021. It goes before the voters and has to be approved by the voters before the Constitution is amended, and it just depends on how many amendments are on there and what people really think about these initiatives as to whether or not they are going to vote yay or nay. Robert Turnage asked if this Commission should let something which may or may not happen affect what they do. Chairman Strickler answered no.
James Dicks stated it seems like they are getting off track on budgets; if they are going to do something, it is going to be on a higher level and not on a budgetary level. He suggested they move on from the topic. Discussion ensued regarding a cut in the Tax Collector’s budget. Mr. Greenberg stated his initial budget was reduced; and in addition to that, they advised against moving forward with the real estate deal. Mr. O’Hanlon reiterated the big issue is getting everybody in the county working collaboratively for the greater good of the citizens.
Chairman Strickler stated there needs to be some way to ensure a more collaborative approach to the governmental entities in the county. He provided an example where a corporation that owned several companies merged those companies together and found out it was a good idea from a lot of different perspectives; dollars, customer service, etc. In the case of Seminole County, it is more complicated than that because you have laws, local ordinances, and a lot of players in the public sector. Chairman Strickler suggested that they form a subcommittee of five people to do a little more research and come back to the Commission to say what makes sense. Does it make sense to bring one or more of the Constitutional Officers under the Board of County Commissioners or does it not? If they are going to be recommending things, they need to say the pros and cons of each recommendation. Mr. Turnage stated he thinks it is an excellent idea.
Mr. Grace indicated from the very first meeting, Chairman Strickler started raising the issue of people who were in some of these offices. Mr. Grace stated he does not think they design their government structure around individuals who happen to be in office today. Chairman Strickler responded if Ray Valdes was still the Tax Collector, he would be making the same recommendation. It has nothing to do with who is in office; it has to do with demands on dollars in the county over the next ten-plus years. They have to get control of the purse strings so the taxpayers are getting the best deal. Mr. Grace noted that Chairman Strickler had made a statement in a previous meeting that in the last couple of Charters, there weren’t any proposed changes because they had a lot of veterans in place; but now there are “newbies” and they need some Charter changes. Mr. Grace said if there are clearly some inefficiencies or something is not working right, he is all for looking at that. If it’s to try to deal with the people that the voters put in those positions and undo that, he is against it. Ms. Ertel and Chairman Strickler agreed. Mr. Turnage opined that would be part of the analysis if they get a subcommittee together. They are having issues and the government is not working real well. Is it a personality issue? If it is, that is not the Commission’s issue; the voters will resolve that. If it is a systemic issue, then that’s something the Commission needs to address.
Mr. O’Hanlon stated he sees it as a merger of the Department of Revenue and the County. He can’t imagine there are not economies of scale to having two separate organizations. Having one that is sharing resources would be more cost effective. He is against that for the other offices because there is conflict; there is no conflict with collecting revenue. Mr. Grace asked if the proposal is to merge the Tax Collector’s Office. Chairman Strickler answered no. He explained the proposal is to have a subcommittee do an evaluation and come back to the Commission with some recommendations as it relates to saving taxpayer dollars in the county in the future by some sort of collaborative arrangement. He expressed he doesn’t know what the answer is; he is just throwing out ideas.
Motion by Mr. Dicks, seconded by Michelle Smith, to put together a subcommittee as the Chairman has outlined to review and look at evaluations and bring recommendations back to the Commission as a whole to refine how it will affect the Charter.
Mr. Strzalko, Mr. Boyko, Mr. O’Hanlon, Mr. Schons, Pasha Baker, Chairman Strickler, Mr. Turnage, Mr. Dicks, and Ms. Smith voted AYE.
Mr. Grace and Ms. Ertel voted NAY.
Mr. O’Hanlon asked for nominees for the subcommittee. Ms. Ertel nominated Mr. Grace. Mr. Turnage volunteered. Ms. Baker volunteered and nominated Ms. Smith. Chairman Stickler volunteered.
Motion by Chairman Strickler, seconded by Mr. Dicks, to appoint Mr. Grace, Mr. Turnage, Ms. Baker, Ms. Smith, and Chairman Strickler to the subcommittee.
All members present voted AYE.
Chairman Strickler suggested the subcommittee should meet before the next meeting. It was decided that the first subcommittee meeting will be Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. in Room 3024 of the Seminole County Services Building and that they do not need Ms. Crosby-Collier present at that particular meeting.
Grant Maloy, Clerk of Court and Comptroller, advised his staff takes the minutes at the Charter meetings, and he has nothing in his budget for extra minutes being taken. There are only three people that take the minutes and they also take minutes for the BCC and VAB, so they sometimes get backlogged. If there are a couple extra meetings a month, that is going to put some strain on his office; the Commission may need to coordinate that with his office or get a third party to come in and do minutes. Mr. O’Hanlon replied he appreciates the Clerk’s concern.
Ms. Baker reminded Issue #2 is in regard to non-partisan races for the County Commission and Constitutional Officers. Ms. Baker explained they are denying the right to vote to almost one-third of the citizens. When they look at Constitutional Officers, they are going to work for the citizens whether they are Republican, Democrat or Independent; but people are told they can’t vote because of a particular party. Chairman Strickler confirmed with Ms. Baker that she is referring to primary elections. Ms. Baker continued, when they look at that, they are denying people access because of the write-in candidates. If they look at it as a whole, they are closing a primary due to letting politics take away a constitutional right. She pointed out, you always want to choose the best person for a job; but you can’t do that if you’re not allowing one-third of the citizens to vote.
Mr. Boyko asked if it is correct that the voting procedure is done by the State and not individual counties. Ms. Baker answered this one is held by the Supervisor of Elections. Mr. Boyko asked if the Supervisor of Election sets the policy; and Ms. Baker answered not the policy, but the Charter could amend that to allow people their constitutional right to vote. She expressed that is what this Charter is for.
Ms. Ertel stated she wants to know more about who her candidates are, not less. If you’re non-partisan, you don’t get to reveal more, you have to reveal less. She doesn’t support this issue. Mr. Grace indicated he would have to be convinced. He explained the primaries are for the parties to choose their candidates for the general election. If you’re not a member of a party, you shouldn’t be voting to select who that party’s candidate is. That doesn’t deny anyone the right to vote, that comes in the general election. He doesn’t think he can support the issue unless he hears a better argument.
Chairman Strickler stated it’s not about partisan or non-partisan; it is really about having open primaries so anybody can vote whether they’re Independent, Democrat or Republican. He agreed with Ms. Ertel because he wants to know not just the party of a person but what they stand for. If you go with non-partisan, it’s like a non-commitment. Mr. Turnage asked if there are counties that do this and operate better. Ms. Baker answered yes. She added there are also cities within this county that do it now. There are mayoral races happening this year that are non-partisan within this county. There are judges’ races that are non-partisan because you have to take out the politics and just give people their right to vote.
The Commission discussed whether or not the School Board has non-partisan elections, and it was determined they do. Ms. Baker advised the issue is, are they denying access and who are they to do that. Chairman Strickler advised he doesn’t think there’s anything in the current Charter that denies access. He reiterated if it is non-partisan, you don’t know what the person stands for. Mr. Grace stated in regard to the idea of getting politics out of this, he isn’t sure they want to do that because the process is electing a politician to be in an important office. He wants to know clearly where they stand. Mr. O’Hanlon expressed he agrees with what’s been stated and that is, if you belong to a party, he certainly only wants that party voting for their candidate. He indicated he is not willing to change it at this time.
Motion by Ms. Ertel, seconded by Mr. Boyko, to keep everything partisan.
Mr. Strzalko, Mr. Boyko, Mr. O’Hanlon, Mr. Schons, Ms. Ertel, Mr. Grace, Chairman Strickler, Mr. Turnage, Mr. Dicks, and Ms. Smith voted AYE.
Ms. Baker voted NAY.
Mr. Grace distributed a handout (copy received and filed) and stated in regard to prohibiting the County Manager from any political activity, the handout outlines his rationale and provides Hillsborough County and Sarasota County as examples of counties who have done this. His thought is it would protect the council-manager form of government because a politically active unelected executive could disrupt that. He said he is suggesting this as a preventative. Chairman Strickler asked if his suggestion applies to any political activity at any level. Mr. Grace answered any political activity other than voting; no fundraising and no campaigning. Ms. Ertel noted basically behaving like a judge.
Mr. Grace advised the ICMA Code of Ethics is on the back of his handout. He focused on the County Manager, but Hillsborough County included the County Attorney and Internal Auditor. It was determined Seminole County does not have an Internal Auditor. He questioned whether they would limit it only to the County Manager or also the County Attorney. Chairman Stickler stated he is surprised there aren’t more counties doing this. Ms. Ertel opined it is very good and she is sure those employees would be relieved.
Motion by Ms. Ertel, seconded by Ms. Smith, to prohibit political activity by the County Manager’s Office.
Under discussion, Mr. O’Hanlon asked where they draw the line because if the County Manager’s Office can’t do it, then the County Attorney’s Office shouldn’t be able to do it, then the Public Works Manager shouldn’t be able to do it. Mr. Grace explained there is a difference. The County Manager and the County Attorney work for the BCC, the others do not. Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel stated per Florida Statute, County employees cannot, on County time, do anything relative to voting; however, it does not have a specific thing that says that in their own time they can’t. So if the County Manager wanted to go door-to-door for a specific candidate during her off time, the law allows her to do that now. But Mr. Ertel believes what Mr. Grace is trying to do is say even in her off time, she would not be allowed to do that.
Mr. O’Hanlon asked why the Supervisor of Elections can’t engage in any political activity; and Mr. Ertel answered he can, but he chooses not to, similar to the Property Appraiser’s Office.
Mr. Dicks asked how the two counties addressed the issue of where to draw the line. Mr. Grace answered Sarasota County drew the line at County Administrator (Manager) and Hillsborough County included the County Attorney and Internal Auditor because they all work for the Board. Chairman Strickler suggested they include anybody at the County level that reports directly to the BCC. Mr. Grace replied he thinks that is only the County Manager and the County Attorney. Mr. Schons confirmed with Mr. Grace that this would prohibit them from political activity even in their own time. Mr. Dicks asked if that restricts any of their personal rights. Mr. Grace answered they can still vote, they would just have to know when they accept that position that that is a condition of their position.
Mr. Strzalko pointed out there is something distinctly different between Hillsborough County and Sarasota County. Hillsborough County specifically says in regard to County Commission elections, whereas Sarasota County says any. He stated if this Commission wanted to do this, they would need to make a determination about how broad they wanted to go. Mr. Dicks asked which one was the most recent adoption. Mr. Grace answered he doesn’t know, but Sarasota adopted the language in 1996. He advised his primary concern is the County Commission, but he is okay with a broader use of that too.
Ms. Ertel stated she would like to amend her motion to include the County Attorney, and the seconder agreed.
Mr. Turnage indicated he is uncomfortable limiting any political activity at all. He would really like to see it limited to the BCC. Mr. O’Hanlon stated he has an issue with it. The potential difficulty that he sees is there are a lot of County contracts; and with a lot of those contracts, they generally give campaign donations. The concern he has is a County Manager unintentionally getting involved in political activity and being fired over a casual statement that they made. Mr. Grace advised the BCC would have to determine whether or not it was a fireable offense. Mr. Dicks stated whoever accepts that position also has to accept that risk. He doesn’t see it as being that big of a problem.
Discussion ensued regarding all races versus just BCC races. Mr. O’Hanlon indicated he can’t go as broad as all races. Mr. Turnage and Ms. Ertel agreed that is too broad. Mr. Grace stated limiting it to the County Commission is an improvement. Mr. Dicks added they will likely find out Hillsborough came after Sarasota thus the clarification that they made.
Mr. O’Hanlon pointed out Chairman Strickler commented there is no penalty for a violation. Mr. Grace indicated his interpretation would be that the employing body is the BCC and if it is brought to their attention that there was a violation of the Charter, they would have to determine whether they provide a warning or fire the County Manager.
Mr. Dicks suggested they move forward with Ms. Crosby-Collier spending some time on finding out how Hillsborough structured their question and how they did their research because they made a few adjustments after Sarasota. Mr. Grace indicated he would like to know whether there have been any issues or problems with it as well before they do a final vote on it. Ms. Crosby-Collier questioned as she moves forward with that research, are they looking at doing this now as to those who are currently employed or those who come later. Mr. Grace answered he hasn’t really thought about it, but it is probably best to go ahead and apply it to the people now. Mr. O’Hanlon asked if that would be a change in their employment contract, and Mr. Grace answered they have to follow the Charter.
Mr. Strickler suggested rather than just listing the County Manager and the County Attorney, the language should be “and any other employee that reports directly to the BCC.” The motioner and seconder agreed to the amendment.
Mr. O’Hanlon stated County Manager Nicole Guillet is present and can speak if she would like. Ms. Guillet expressed she feels a little uncomfortable voicing an opinion on the issue. She indicated she is not uncomfortable with the proposition of the prohibition of political involvement on a County level. She is a little concerned of a prohibition that would keep her from writing a check for a presidential candidate; however, if it were a condition of employment, she would certainly comply with it. Ms. Guillet stated she doesn’t see the concept of not engaging in local politics as a restriction.
Mr. O’Hanlon advised the motion on the floor, with the amendments, is to prohibit the County Manager, County Attorney, and any other employee that reports directly to the BCC from any political activity relating to the BCC elections, other than voting. Mr. Strickler asked if that is pending a report back from Ms. Crosby-Collier. Ms. Crosby-Collier confirmed that they are asking her to go forward with looking into the Hillsborough County Charter language. Mr. Grace stated whatever the Commission moves forward, Ms. Crosby-Collier needs to research to help the Commission formulate the issue into a question. Ms. Crosby-Collier confirmed they will do a final vote on it.
All members present voted AYE.
Mr. Strzalko noted Hillsborough County adopted their Charter language regarding this issue in 2004.
In regard to enhanced funding transparency of all expenditures, Ms. Ertel stated she is going to withdraw that suggestion; not that she thinks somebody should be less transparent, but it seems to her that all of the related information is available through a public records request.
Mr. O’Hanlon stated he would take up the issue. What he liked about the idea is whether there should be some sort of quality budget chart on a website going through the tax deficiency of the departments or maybe it is an annual report; something that says how they are doing for all of their different offices compared to the rest of Central Florida and similar-size counties. Ms. Ertel opined that is not something that belongs in the Charter. She thinks staff should probably be doing it; but if you asked any Constitutional or the County Manager for that information, they would provide it because it is public record.
Mr. O’Hanlon asked if spending $2 million is efficient. Mr. Dicks replied it is not the job of the Commission to say whether their budget is efficient. He added if the budgets are online, then that is the voter’s responsibility. Mr. O’Hanlon asked how is the voter going to know, and Mr. Dicks answered whoever is running against them will point it out. If the budget isn’t there and there is no transparency, that could be a potential problem; but from what he can see, the budgets are there. Clerk Maloy stated in his previous presentation, he mentioned one of the future goals that his office is working on is having a Spending in the Sunshine search engine which would have the Clerk’s budget; and if the other Constitutionals wanted to give permission, they could include all taxpayer dollars that are spent. He added the CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) is already online, which has a lot of details for all of the County departments and all of the data that goes with taxpayer dollars.
Mr. O’Hanlon stated his concern is he doesn’t know whether or not that is an efficient expenditure of taxpayer dollars and how it compares to other counties. He wants it to be as plain as day as to whether everyone is doing a good job so it is easy for the public to get rid of someone if they are not. Mr. Boyko reiterated the budgets are posted online, but wondered how many people can really look at it and understand it. Mr. Dicks replied the person running against them. Mr. Schons stated he doesn’t believe it is the Commission’s responsibility to put it in the Charter that all voters must meet a financial analysis test. Mr. Turnage indicated in regard to their budgets, all of the Constitutional Officers report to someone at the State level. Ms. Ertel advised not all of them, and Mr. Ertel explained his budget goes directly through the County.
Mr. O’Hanlon stated his point is he wants the public to have a good understanding of the budget, so he wants the budget in an easy format. Mr. Grace asked if Mr. O’Hanlon has seen anything like that in any other Charters and Mr. O’Hanlon answered no. Mr. Grace stated it’s not that he doesn’t agree with Mr. O’Hanlon, he is just trying to figure out what to do in the Charter to accomplish something like that. Mr. O’Hanlon replied he doesn’t know, but there has to be measures that show that they are doing a good job; he wants them as visible as they can make them. Chairman Strickler stated he doesn’t think that can be dictated through the Charter.
Motion by Mr. Dicks, seconded by Ms. Ertel, to remove Issue #4 in regard to transparency of all expenditures at Ms. Ertel’s request.
All members present voted AYE.
NEW ISSUES/SOLUTIONS TO BE INTRODUCED
Mr. Turnage advised he was not able to make the last meeting but wanted to contribute to the request for ideas for the Charter Commission. He asked how he could do that and was told to work through the County Attorney. Mr. Turnage was told he cannot submit his idea if he was not at the meeting. He explained the issue is, if they can’t come to the meeting, there should still be a way they can participate. Chairman Strickler stated his understanding has always been that any member who wants to communicate one way with any other member, as long as there is no response, there is not a violation. Ms. Crosby-Collier advised she would never encourage a board member to communicate with another board member. Whenever she sends out an email, it should indicate, “This email is going to all Board members. This is a Sunshine Board. Do not hit Reply to All.”
Ms. Crosby-Collier stated there was a memorandum that Mr. Turnage has prepared that he wanted to submit to everyone and they agreed he should bring it to the meeting to be discussed. The problem was how to get that out to everyone in advance. He could have sent a memo out like Chairman Strickler did; but with the agenda being controlled by the Chairman in this case, it put staff in an awkward position of being a conduit. She asked that they do not email one another with things concerning business that is going to foreseeably come before this Commission because that is a Sunshine Law issue.
Mr. Grace asked if Mr. Turnage could have given it to Ms. Crosby-Collier to forward to the Chairman to distribute to the Commission for the meeting just like the Chairman’s memo. Ms. Crosby-Collier answered ultimately without violating the Sunshine Law, she suggested to the Chairman that anyone who had missed a meeting and had not brought up their issues be invited to do so on the agenda under an item that is called New Issues/Solutions to be Introduced.
Mr. Boyko confirmed that Ms. Crosby-Collier is not a part of the Commission so they can converse with her anytime they feel the need. Ms. Crosby-Collier noted her preferred method of communication is email. She clarified she can prepare and distribute a memo from any Commission member, but she cannot put an item on the agenda.
Mr. Turnage advised his item suggestion has already been addressed with the creation of the subcommittee.
Mr. Grace stated over the last month or two he has told people he is on the Charter Review Commission and every one of those people have said he has to suggest term limits. He indicated he hasn’t thought about bringing it forward because he personally believes that it is a problem at the national level. Mr. O’Hanlon advised he has had the same experience, and he refutes it every time. He explained this is a very well-run county. The services that people get are excellent. The Commission has heard from the Constitutional Officers, so they know where the county ranks amongst all of Central Florida; the county is doing great. He opined from that perspective, when something is working good, don’t break it.
Mr. Grace stated there would be pros and cons. Chairman Strickler stated he personally does not support it. Ms. Ertel advised she thinks elections are term limits. Mr. Grace clarified that wasn’t a formal proposal; he just wanted it to be a discussion item. Mr. O’Hanlon explained someone has to be in a job for a while until they really understand the job. There is a huge learning curve, and it is so complicated because politics gets involved with trying to get the public’s business done. Mr. Grace said he appreciates the discussion.
Fred Streetman, 125 Lake Rena Drive, addressed the Commission and thanked them for doing a good job. He stated what was encouraging to him was that the suggestions were well thought out and discussed, and they agreed to think about them a little further before they jumped the gun. He indicated he was the chairman of one of these commissions one time, and they had a lot of pressure to change one of the Constitutional Offices. That commission worked hard, had a lot of debate, and held public hearings. At the end of the day, they made no changes; and that is a hard disciplinary position to take. He expressed the point of it is, if it is not broke, don’t fix it. He talked about how well Seminole County is run. He stated there is not an influx of power here because the County’s Chairman doesn’t draw any power beyond the person sitting next to him in the other four districts, and that is a wonderful form of government. It is a form of government where the County’s Chairman does not accumulate power, and every citizen in this county gets to vote for every County Commissioner.
Mr. Streetman stated there has never been so much controversy in this County as there has been this year, and that has to do with personalities. His personal philosophy has always been, don’t change a system because of a personality because the personalities change. He opined if Ray Valdes, former Tax Collector, was still in office, they would not be doing the same thing because there wouldn’t be the battle of how much money he was sending back to the County. Mr. Streetman concluded by stating there is no reason to change a good system of having good independent Constitutional Officers. The system is good, and that shouldn’t be changed because of personalities.
Speaker Request Form for Mr. Streetman was not received and filed.
For clarity, Mr. Boyko asked what issues are “on” and which issues are “off.” Mr. O’Hanlon answered going forward is the subcommittee meeting, which will address his item (Issue #1), and the prohibition of political activity in the County Manager’s and County Attorney’s Offices.
With regard to public participation, no one else in the audience spoke and public input was closed.
NEXT SCHEDULED MEETING
Mr. O’Hanlon announced the next scheduled meeting is February 20, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. at the County Services Building.
Hearing no objections, Mr. O’Hanlon adjourned the meeting at 8:10 p.m., this same date.