LARGO - The biggest dispute among members of the Charter Review Committee is the question of whether there should be a super majority (five of seven votes) to fire the city manager.
And leading the proponents of a super majority is Shirley Craig.
The committee has already decided that a simple majority is all that is required to fire the manager.
Craig has brought up the idea of revisiting the question again and again, at one point, citing the idea of a local daily newspaper that re-thinking is needed on the question.
Craig’s husband is an assistant city manager.
At the committee’s October 5 meeting she pressed hard for her colleagues to change their minds and go for a super majority.
George Feaster, for one, took great umbrage at the idea of revisiting questions that had already been decided.
“If we are saying that on anything that was a close vote we need to go back re-discuss it, I am out of here right now,” he said with some agitation.
Talkative J.B. Butler (lots of noise but very little light) does not think that majority rule, with the review committee itself, should prevail.
“We agreed at the outset,” Chester Rowe chipped in, “that majority votes here would rule.”
“No,” Butler said. “We never agreed on that. We need a consensus.”
Of course, if majority votes are not the rule, the committee has crippled itself, far beyond the crippling effect already felt by the amateurism of such members as Butler.
Craig obviously has a dog in the fight. “As (Steve) Stanton goes, so goes (Mac) Craig,” one observer noted. Mac Craig is an assistant city manager.
Even if Stanton should move on, Craig could presumably be a candidate to succeed him and the simple/super majority rule would affect him.
More likely, Largo will seek a professional city manager should Stanton be fired (as he himself has opined) and not get itself into the same pickle as Clearwater did some years ago, hiring an inexperienced, non-professional.
Shirley Craig issued a memo October 10 to her review committee colleagues in which she said four issues needed further discussion.
She listed term limits, a required referendum to eliminate police and fire departments, and endorsements of political candidates by city fire, police and employees unions.
Listed last, but obviously the main thrust of her memo, was the question of the kind of vote required to fire the city manager.
She wrote in the memo in muddled language that “If the idea of changing the charter, to require a majority as opposed to a super majority, for this important decision is not good enough that a consensus can be reached, then I suggest that the change should not be made.” (Her emphasis.)
Just to make sure her colleagues got the point that this had no resemblance to any present living persons, Craig wrote that “any changes” have “no bearing on present officials or committee members” (whatever that means).
The point is, Craig wants no changes on the vote required to fire the city manager. For those listening closely, the theme song, “Stand by Your Man,” could be heard.
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