LARGO -- It is clear that the final product of the city's Charter Review Committee is going to be largely the work of city staffers who constantly guard against the charter now being worked on from becoming murky soup.
At its meeting July 13, the CRC once again demonstrated that it is a group, well meaning, no doubt, that has very little idea of what it is doing. But, inevitably, the popinjays do the most talking, and that is what is very revealing.
A project like this brings the windbags out of the woodwork. On the other hand, those who talk least make the most sense.
As an example of some members having no idea of what a charter is all about was the insistence by J.B. Butler of including a lot of minutia.
These silly suggestions, which included information on how to access key city documents and what Florida laws pertained to Largo, were enunciated in profound and pontifical tones by someone who obviously is entranced with the sound of his own voice.
Ned Ford zeroed in on the idea of eliminating all needless language in the charter, but there were enough members persistent in the skills of time wasting and bloviating to use up all time allocated.
One member intelligently pointed out that the charter should not be "a self help document."
Any young student having successfully passed through a civic course has a better understanding of what a charter is than most of the members of what now constitutes the latest "amateur hour" show in Largo.
Kim Adams, the city's financial director, testified before the committee with very to the point and sensible ideas. For example, there is no need to say in the charter that no one should break the law. Duh.
That alone would reflect that the previous body that constructed the present charter was even more at sea than this current crew.
Even on the issue of terminology, members were sadly lacking in knowledge. Suggesting that state law should be cited in those things that pertain to Largo (e.g., defining the fiscal year), Jim Janowski referred to the "state charter" before someone straightened out the language by saying "state statutes" was correct.
The same source wanted to weigh down the charter with citation numbers of Florida Statutes before Tammi Bach, assistant city attorney, cautioned that the state law numbers change constantly.
A big deal was made over mentioning what the exact dates of the city's fiscal year are, a subject that makes no difference whatsoever in terms of a charter's basic law.
Despite the constant cries "we must move on" of Arnold Johnson, a local divine who is chairing the committee, a few members persisted in riding their personal hobby horses that avoided the goals of "concise and precise" language.
The usual four or five members dominated the meeting throwing out their "ideas," from the baffling to the silly, that were restrained only by the good sense and expertise of staffers Steve Ross and Bach.
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