Dunedin city commissioners mulling charter changes for November ballot
DUNEDIN -- It's shaping up to be a lengthy ballot for Dunedin voters who head to the polls in November.
In addition to selecting candidates vying for three City Commission seats, residents this fall will decide on a slew of proposed charter changes, including commissioner term limits.
That ballot item is among a half-dozen proposed by Dunedin's Charter Review Committee, a panel of seven volunteers tasked last summer with reviewing the city charter. The committee is appointed by the City Commission every five years to update the document, which effectively serves as Dunedin's constitution.
The panel recently presented its ideas to the commission, which unanimously approved sending several of the recommendations to the voters. Commissioners outright vetoed one recommendation (a sentence deletion aimed at generating discussion about increased pay for elected leaders) and will further discuss several others late this month.
Referendum ballot language must be submitted to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections by 5 p.m. Aug. 3. The city charter cannot be changed without voters' approval.
You can get the full scoop on the commission's ongoing discussion by clicking this link. Meanwhile, here's a brief snippet of what's on tap so far:
In addition to term limits for elected leaders, the City Commission has so far agreed that voters should decide on the number of commission votes it takes to hire or fire the city clerk. They also agree that the charter should spell out how often commissioners rotate the vice mayor position.
Amid confusion over what types of crimes would be covered, commissioners delayed discussing whether to expand the city charter's definition of "conviction" - one of the measures that would force a commissioner to vacate office.
Commissioners also have City Attorney Tom Trask researching whether it's worthwhile to add two of their own ideas to the November referendum. Those include instituting a more flexible commission meeting schedule and shortening the days that commissioners must respond to citizen petitions for charter changes from 150 days to 60.
And it won't be stipulated in the charter, but commissioners said they'll schedule a workshop to discuss the committee's recommendation that new commissioners receive training.
--Keyonna Summers, Times Staff Writer