St Augustine Beach, FL
Dear Editor and Historic City News readers at St Augustine Beach;
Charter amendment propositions are on your primary ballot. Although most primary propositions are bland, all are not. If you live in the City of St Augustine Beach, I ask you to read them carefully and vote. I would like to offer my personal opinions as a voter and taxpayer. They do not reflect the official position of the City of St. Augustine Beach.
Proposition 12 would give the current city attorney tenure. I strongly oppose this amendment. Historically, the city attorney has been hired and fired by a 3-5 vote which makes sense for the following reasons:
First, the current “City Attorney” is a firm, not an individual. Firms can be sold and firm members change. The amendment would result in monetary gain for the owner of the firm and put the city at risk for being stuck with counsel that has insufficient experience in municipal law if he sold it.
Second, being an attorney reflects an extremely high level of trust from your client. It is so sacred that a simple majority (3-5) vote is sufficient for removal if there is the slightest question or doubt. Prop. 12 would prohibit removal unless 4 out of 5 Commissioners agree.
Third, the super majority (4-5) protection would apply only to this one firm; all future city attorneys would revert back to being hired and fired on a simple majority vote. As an attorney myself, I believe the City Commission put the owner of this firm in an ethical quandary and conflict of interest when it directed him to draft the ballot language that would be personally profitable to him.
This was not a change recommended by the charter review committee; it was added by the Commission in a last minute sweep of the draft. As your Commissioner, I did my best to ensure that the ballot language gives you fair warning but I am only one commissioner out of five so the rest is up to you.
Please vote in the primary and vote no on proposition 12.
Charter Amendment items that will be on your ballot for the primary election on August 26, 2014 are available on the city’s updated website at http://www.staugbch.com/
There will be twelve (12) Charter Amendments proposed on your primary ballot. Please take the time to consider these carefully and read the full text of what is being proposed before voting. Do not rely on the language on the ballot as it is a brief synopsis summary and is not the actual text of the amendment.