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Tampa council votes to let police review board hire its own attorney

This time, Mayor Jane Castor does not intend to veto the move, a spokesperson said.
 
A spokesperson for Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says she does not intend to veto a measure passed by City Council members Thursday that would allow the Citizens Review Board, which investigates allegations of police misconduct, to hire its own attorney.
A spokesperson for Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says she does not intend to veto a measure passed by City Council members Thursday that would allow the Citizens Review Board, which investigates allegations of police misconduct, to hire its own attorney. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published April 7, 2023|Updated April 7, 2023

In what looks like the final outcome to a long dispute, the Tampa City Council voted Thursday to allow the Citizens Review Board, which investigates allegations of police misconduct, to hire its own attorney.

The council acted on the expected 4-3 vote, with Bill Carlson, Orlando Gudes, Lynn Hurtak and Luis Viera in favor and Joe Citro, Guido Maniscalco and Charlie Miranda opposed.

Mayor Jane Castor does not intend to veto the ordinance, said spokesperson Adam Smith.

He said Castor still considers it an unnecessary expense and noted that the board has not formally requested the move.

In January, Castor vetoed an attempt by the council to put the proposal on a referendum ballot as a charter change; the council failed on the same 4-3 vote to override the veto, which required a 5-2 supermajority.

Castor said at the time that consideration of that and other proposed charter changes was rushed.

“She vetoed that and a number of charter amendments because of the process, but has no thought of vetoing it as a ordinance,” Smith said.

Progressive activists have long said the board needed independent legal advice from a source other than the city attorney’s office, which could have a conflict of interest if there was litigation against the city over an allegation of police misconduct.

Castor and the opposing council members said it was an unnecessary expense, in part because the board can hire its own attorney on a case-by-case basis. But proponents said that still depends on the city attorney giving approval.

The question had become an issue in the ongoing City Council election.