LARGO – Largo’s Charter Review Committee stumbled through its final meeting November 2 with the usual confusion and with one member, Shirley Craig, waging a last-ditch battle to preserve the city manager’s job, just in case.
Of course, she has a direct conflict of interest which has made her ongoing fight to preserve the idea of needing five votes to remove the city manager interesting.
Her husband, Norton, generally known as “Mac,” is an assistant city manager, so as Stanton goes so goes Mac Craig.
Or, if Stanton were to be removed (which he, by his own testimony, fully expects in the spring) Mac Craig has his eye on the job.
Either way, Shirley Craig wants that job protected. She has fought like a wildcat to keep the super majority vote every time the question has come up and it has come up about four times in the past six weeks.
She had some help in her battle from Alan Zimmet, the city’s lawyer who is paid more than $2,000 a week in his part time job, who is acting as counsel to the charter committee (again, a perceived conflict of interest).
Zimmet, of course, is dependent for his job on the city manager.
In reviewing questions that could go to the voters in the referendum on the charter (if, indeed, it goes that far, a determination to be made by the City Commission) the super majority issue on the manager came up again.
Shirley Craig was right in their, flailing away, and Zimmet, using lawyer language and a clever argument, pointed out that it should be broken out as a separate question.
Members like Chester Rowe, who believes decisions should be made in the typical American way – by majority vote, were outmaneuvered and the super majority seems to have gained an edge.
The committee struggled through its final meeting last Wednesday with the usual confusion and excessive, go-nowhere palaver (J.B. Butler subjecting all and sundry to his lecture on U.S. constitutional law, as usual a potpourri of nonsense).
In the 14th and last meeting, as in all the others, Arnold Johnson, the chairman, continued his quaint language, referring to receiving information “over the e-mail” and constantly using “so moved” when “approved” would have been the proper language.
Fortunately, Zimmet was at Johnson’s left hand at all times, prompting the chairman as to what to do and say, sort of a pleasant little puppet show.
Some of the notions and ideas put forward by this group of neophytes (total putty in the hands of a clever lawyer) were as off the wall as could be.
For example, a suggestion that the charter should by approved “by the people,” which, of course, is meaningless and has no legal meaning.
While there was an idea put forth for education of the whole process for the voters, it was noteworthy that the county’s only daily newspaper devoted not one word to the proceedings.
In fact, the Clearwater Gazette & Beach Views was the only publication that provided complete coverage.
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