When is the Largo City Commission going to stop pussyfooting around and do its duty?
That duty is simple, straightforward and without complication and is commanded by the City Charter which every elected official takes an oath to uphold.
The exercise of that duty or not, will determine whether Largo is a government of laws or a government of whimsy.
If the choice is the latter, woe betide the future for the city, for it will mean that no writ runs in the city and every elected official or hired hand is free to do what he or she wants without restraint of law.
The general citizenry does not seem to care, but the City of Largo is riven with controversy, coverup, evasion, duplicity, lack of integrity, dilatory tactics -- in short, it is a mess.
There are hints, from the source itself, that the city manager is not long for the city.
There is internecine warfare and dissatisfaction rippling through city hall.
There are examples of favoritism througout the city in respect to rules and law applying to some and not to others.
There is a megalomania infecting the city that has skewed the main business of government to the accumulation of personal power on the part of the city manager.
Drastic changes need to be made in the fundamental organ of law in the city -- that is, changes in the City Charter.
That will take some time.
In the meantime, now is the time for the City Commission to act, to do its duty in order to save the city from becoming an entity governed by whimsy.
The task lying before the City Commission is uncomplicated, extremely simple and can be done with speed and dispatch. No lengthy investigation need be held; the facts are well established.
All that needs be done is to act.
There are provisions in the City Charter that compel the City Commission to act now without any further delay, without any further bafflegab, without any further semantic hijinks.
Section 9.02(a)(4) of the city charter says in pertinent par that "No person who holds any compensated city position or office shall make, solicit, or receive any contribution to the political campaigns, parties or candidates pertaining to the city elections . . ."
This was violated in the March election by Commissioners Pat Burke, Pat Gerard and Harriet Crozier. Burke chose not to seek re-election is out of office; her role is moot. Gerard and Crozier remain.
Section Sec. 2.07 of the charter says this -- "(a) . . . A member of the city commission shall be removed from office and forfeit same if said member: (2) Violates any express prohibition of this charter."
Crozier and Gerard, through their own admissions and as a matter of public record in candidate financial filings, violated Section 9.02(4)(a). Ipso facto, they must be removed.
The view here is not personal. I like and respect, indeed, am fond of both women. But the law is the law. So these words are put down with regret.
Ignorance of the law has been pleaded. "Everyone has done it for years" has been pleaded. Both are insuffficient defenses.
In fact, veracity comes into the picture, because the record shows that Section 9.02(4)(a) was discussed in detail at the June 22, 2004 commission meeting.
To now say, as at least one of the accused commissioners has, that one has forgotten that discussion is self-indicting. If there is no memory of what happens at meetings the individual should not be there.
It is self-indicting because the position indicates total incompetence or total lack of veracity.
The City Commission must act now and remove Gerard and Crozier or suffer forever the ignominy of incompetent governance.
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