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Palm Coast Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 1 year ago

As citizen charter meetings end, City Council rethinks its options

Councilwoman Heidi Shipley proposed that the city convene a citizen committee to evaluate the charter.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

When the city invited the public to comment on the city’s charter in preparation for a review process led by the City Council, attendance was sparse.

The city held four “special charter workshops” from Sept. 27 to Oct. 26, drawing about a dozen people to each. The council’s plan has been to follow that process by, if needed, a charter review performed by the council itself.

But a City Council workshop Oct. 31, Councilwoman Heidi Shipley suggested creating a citizen review committee.

She said she’d talked with Marilyn Crotty, the Florida Institute of Government at the University of Central Florida director who’d facilitated the series of workshops, and that Crotty had said that the city could also create a citizen review committee — something a small but vocal group of residents have pushed for.

“I think we should consider having the citizens … take over and do that process, too,” Shipley said. “It doesn’t hurt to have both processes done.”

Councilman Steve Nobile was also willing to consider a citizen committee.

“I think Ms. Shipley’s statement was dead on,” he said. “This was good. We did it this way, and then in the future we can certainly do more of a citizen charter review.”

After the meeting, Councilman Bob Cuff said he was also willing to consider a citizen council to review the charter.

“We could talk about it,” he said. Cuff had questioned from the beginning how much the charter needed to be reviewed. “I was hearing a handful of people say, ‘Review, review, review,’ but I wasn’t hearing specific proposals,” he said.

Still, he said, “I never saw this as the be-all, end-all. … I’m certainly not opposed to further review.”

Mayor Milissa Holland was absent for the workshop.

Councilman Nick Klufas said he hadn’t seen a groundswell of interest in changing the charter, and hadn’t gotten many messages from residents about reviewing the charter.

“My goal is to stick with the process that we had decided upon,” Klufas said.

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