The mystery in Largo is why there is such low voter turnout for municipal elections.
Only 6 percent or so in the March election, and not even that if you count those who actually went to the polls on election day. The absentee voters boosted the count to 6 percent.
It seems that is has been ever thus, particularly in recent years. As far back as 1987 the turnout was less than 9 percent.
Does the low turnout indicate total popular accord with the city administration and elected officials. Or does it mean that Largo folks just don't care?
While some bleat about a high spending city government and bemoan the raising of taxes in the past couple of years, it would seem that if the taxpayers were really offended and angry they would show up in droves and let their dissatisfactions be known.
Maybe they just don't care because the message coming out of city hall is that Largo is a government of whimsy, not a government of law.
Employees are fired without any consistency. One breaks the rules and gets walking papers. Another violates the city charter and nothing happens.
Elected officials refuse to enforce the city's laws, protecting friends.
The city manager has the city in a dictator-like grip with all employees reporting to him and all of them vulnerable to him. They work in fear.
The city attorney has a cushy job -- he's paid about $2,000 a week for part time work and any extra work is shoveled to his law firm. If that kind of self-enrichment is not corruption, I would like to know what is.
The city clerk is under the whip of the manager and if there is a failure to alert the manager that folks are snooping around looking for public records information there is instant and severe punishment.
Obviously, both the city attorney and city clerk positions should be under the City Commission.
And the city attorney should be a full-time job with no advantage given to a private law firm. Business to be farmed out should be bid on. Largo is big enough now to have a full time city attorney.
You didn't know these things? Well, you know them now.
These mistakes and the broken way of running the city can be fixed. A charter review commission is being formed and the fixes can be made very easily.
In fact, the politicians -- both those elected and those hired by the city of Largo -- should be kept totally out of the charter review commission selection process.
Unfortunately, this is not what will happen. Under the law, which the City Commission may or may not obey, the commission will appoint charter review members. In the end, the commission will approve or not recommendations. So ultimately any charter changes will be the product of the commission.
The committee should constitute a cross section of the city's population and the members should be picked by lot in various categories.
At no point should the commission play any role. Just as in the formation of the U.S. Constitution 218 years ago, the participants were all private citizens with no input from sitting, elected bodies.
Once the review committee's work is done, it should be vetted by a competent municipal lawyer with no ties to the city and then should be presented directly to the voters in a referendum.
The City Commission should not be allolwed to get its fingers into that pie.
It will be otherwise and the public will once again suffer.
No wonder no one cares.
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