Charter Review Committee Votes To Change Century’s Form Of Government

July 16, 2021

The Century Charter Review Committee decided Thursday that the town’s form of government needs to be changed, transferring most of the mayor’s powers to a city manager.

The committee is tasked with updating the charter — the document that legally establishes the town, outlines its powers and spells out how it should operate. The committee has meet periodically since October 2019, and Thursday evening was the first formal vote taken.

On a motion by Michelle Cunningham, the committee voted 5-0 that a charter rewrite would form a city manager — council form of government, making the elected mayor a weak position, perhaps mostly a figurehead.

The city manager would control the day to day operations of the town, and the town council would continue to pass ordinances, resolutions and take care of other town business. The exact duties of the mayor will not become clear until the charter review committee moves forward with their work.

Chairperson Mary Hudson Bourgeois said it was time for the committee to make the crucial decision on a new form of government in order to move forward with the charter updates.

“We need to know where we are going, what direction, so we can start putting the pieces together,” she said. “This give us the opportunity to start working on the duties of each.”

At their next meeting, the charter review committee will look at the duties for the city manager, council and mayor.

The committee will then move forward with rewriting the charter. Once they are done, it will go before the town council before ultimately going on the ballot for a vote by Century residents.

Unless approved by voters, none of the committee’s actions will actually be implemented.

Pictured top: Century Charter Review Committee member Michelle Cunningham made a motion Thursday change Century’s form a government. Pictured below: Committee member Brenda Spencer listens to the discussion. photos, click to enlarge.


24 Responses to “Charter Review Committee Votes To Change Century’s Form Of Government”

  1. Taylon on July 18th, 2021 10:22 am

    Calm down people. Very last line of the article:

    “Unless approved by voters, none of the committee’s actions will actually be implemented.”

    So if this is something you think is stupid then work to make sure it’s not voted in. Or better yet be one of those that complains their butt off, but won’t get off said butt to go and vote…

    Also for people asking for qualifications I’m pretty sure there was a previous article about that before the committee was selected. If I remember correctly they had to ask for volunteers more than once because they didn’t have enough the first time (or I could very well be misremembering), but the point is I think the committee members just have to live in Century, be able to vote, attend the meetings, and volunteer to be on it.

  2. Bob on July 17th, 2021 8:19 am

    Change Century’s Form Of Government
    Old: Three Ring Circus
    New: Four Ring Circus

    Shut the place down and give it to the county!!!

  3. Rasheed Jackson on July 17th, 2021 7:25 am

    The system is not broken and does not need to be replaced. The people running the system are the problem and they need to be replaced. This form of government has been around for generations and works just fine, when the people elected are working together as a unit to make their community a better place. Problems plaguing the town of Century are created by the individuals in office, not by the form of government. It seems that everyone wants to be in charge and not work as part of a system, doing their part to ensure the system, with its checks and balances, operates as smooth as possible.
    When the town was first Chartered the people that were here and worked to see it through did an outstanding job. They worked together and created a town that, until then, existed only in name. They set up a new water system, sewage system, gas system, and provided trash pick for the residents, and for a while had a police department. It is my understanding, the elected officials were instrumental in bringing in Champion Apparel, and Jim Walter Doors to the area. I personally know people who worked at these places of employment. No one got rich working at these facilities, but they were a great springboard for many young people needing experience in the work force.
    It is time to stop wasting our energy on what is not broken and replace the things that are broken. The people elected a mayor they thought could do the job, but he has been blocked on most every decision he has tried to make. The same people who elected the mayor also elected the individuals who are doing the grandstanding and trying to make a name for themselves and creating the mayhem we are seeing at the town councils. It is time the voting citizens said enough is enough and demand the council work with the mayor and if it proves he cannot govern then vote him out, but he deserves the opportunity to perform the duties of his office without a constant battle at every turn.
    Century could once again be a great little town, but it will take individuals that are concerned with making a name for Century rather than making a name for themselves.

  4. IMHO on July 16th, 2021 2:37 pm

    @Northescambia What qualifications do the members of the Committee have? Anyone with experience writing a town charter?

  5. Century Resident on July 16th, 2021 2:04 pm

    Looks like it’s time to do away with the Charter Review Committee, they want to take the power of the citizens away and give it to the power hungry city council. Never give up your right to vote for a official, and that is exactly what this committee is asking the people to do. Besides if the council hires the city manager, that person will be a “yes person” for the city council. If the manager makes one council person mad on this power hungry council, all that council member has to do it get two more council members to side with them and the “yes person” that said “No” will be history. Then it starts all over, when they fire the manager the city will probably have to pay this person for several months while they waste our tax money looking for a new “yes person” that will say “Yes” to them. If you don’t believe it can happen, just look at Escambia county right now, the tax payers are paying for two county administrators right now and for several months to come because the former administrator stepped on someone’s toe’s and they got two more commissioners to go along with firing the present administrator. I’m not saying that the former or present administrators were bad at their jobs, they are both probably pretty good at them, but apparently the former one said “No” one to many times. Keep it like it is, the Century residents have the power to remove the mayor at the polls if they don’t like what he is doing. Seems like every time the mayor tries to do something good for the town this power hungry town council over rules him just to prove they can.

  6. No Surprise Here on July 16th, 2021 2:01 pm

    No surprise here! I made this call back when NorthEscambia first reported the acting city manager was facilitating these committee meetings.

  7. Dumbfounded on July 16th, 2021 1:21 pm

    Literally didn’t think this town could outdo itself in the stupidity… Boy was I wrong.

    I mean, can they not give the Mayor an opportunity to do something with that place?.. I mean the current Mayor. Apparently the old Mayor wasn’t an issue since he did what they wanted. The new Mayor acts as if he is doing everything he can to make Century a better place, but keeps getting shut down. Where does it end or when?

  8. CJ Lewis on July 16th, 2021 11:53 am

    The “detailed” powers and duties of the Town Manager can be described in a Charter “or” in the Town Code of Ordinances. The advantage to doing it in the Code is that the powers and duties can very quickly be expanded “or” contracted based on how the Town Manager performs. Key issues to discuss are the Town Manager’s authority with respect to all or which town employees and their hiring, suspension and termination. There is no need for the Town Council to approve the hiring, suspension and termination of “all” town employees. That is beyond ridiculous. Also, how much spending authority should the Town Manager have on their own? Because the Town Manager can be fired by the Town Council at any time for any or no reason at all, the new Town Manager should have more authority than the unaccountable Mayor who is not even subject to recall by voters. As example, the Town Manager should be able to pay the monthly telephone bill without the Town Council getting involved. If the Town Council does not trust the Town Manager, just hire a new one. The Charter’s Town Manager section to be submitted to voters for approval or rejection could be a simple as: “There shall be a Town Manager who shall be a town resident, serve at the pleasure of the Town Council and exercise the powers and duties as prescribed by ordinance.” In a Council-Manager form of government, the mayor is not required to be a council member but should. The new Mayor should be the presiding officer and a voting member of the Town Council. Rather than give the mayor a veto, the Charter (or Town Code) could specify that certain actions such as ordinances and resolutions require the affirmative approval of the majority of the Town Council plus one additional vote. State law (Section 166.041) mandates a minimum standard for a municipality to adopt ordinances and resolutions but does not prevent the imposition of more rigorous standards. If Century voters want term limits, they should be cumulative. As example, “No person shall serve as an elected official of the town for more than eight total years to include all prior years served in all elected offices of the town.” The Town Council should probably only have five total members. Two-year terms of office are better than four years. If an incumbent elected official has to face reelection every two years, they are kept more accountable. In Century, a very small place with few voters, all council members should be elected “at-large” meaning that all Century voters get to vote in all Century elections. If you ask anyone in Century, I bet they will say that they would rather vote for “all” council members vice just one. No matter what is recommended in the Charter, the Charter Review Committee “also” needs to review the Town’s Code of Ordinances to anticipate how a new Charter will affect the Code. It would be a very smart idea for the Committee to give the Town Council both a proposed new Charter “and” a proposed rewrite of the Code of Ordinances because the two documents work hand-in-glove. One voters approve the Charter, the updated Code can be adopted right away. The Century Charter Review Committee should submit a written report to explain its recommendations. In 2009, the Pensacola Charter Review Commission was required by its 2007 mandate to submit a report but refused. The current charter still contains two legal errors, a massive governance flaw and so much confusion a City Attorney has claimed that “shall” and “may” are the same.

  9. Citizen on July 16th, 2021 10:30 am

    keep the charter like it is and keep Prather hired. Status quo. Too much power for a person who doesn’t reside here is a bad formula.

    A municipality can put an incredible tax burden on the residents.

    Keep Boutwell, Keep Prather. Council stop the power struggles.

    Don’t change the charter. Vote no.

    Keep the manager as a hire position. He is enjoying the paycheck and it is working out.

    Later down the line, no telling who will win the seat of either the council or the Mayor.

    There is not much talent for running utilities but right now what we are doing is the best.

    If Century unincorporated ECUA and unincorporated D5 is not the best answer.

    If this gets on the ballot, I will vote against it.

    I do think the hired manager position is a godsend but do NOT increase his power.

    Checks and balances are appropriate even if at times it causes gridlock.

    We need to get the waste treatment plant upgrades and the wells upgraded. Possible sell the gas franchise, to PE now that it’s viable

  10. Brian on July 16th, 2021 10:29 am

    Can Century even afford to pay for a referendum? And a powerless figurehead?

  11. Dewayne on July 16th, 2021 9:14 am

    I would like to see Century get its act together for the good of the resident’s.
    Without the proper serious education this town management ..its not going to happen.
    Chaos and Mayhem are not a form of government .
    I would wish them luck but if to prosper and flourish a whole lot more needs to take place 1st.
    The luck train has broken down and has been for decades
    Get you an education and I am not talking about a GED
    I am not talking about taking a online course in Business
    But when you want something for nothing, and you have no educated idea what you are getting…you still are on the merry-go-round headed no where.
    I am sure there are some there that are sincere, but you have to be educated

  12. ensley boy on July 16th, 2021 8:45 am

    Big influx of money coming in,they have to shuffle everything around so it will be harder to tell what money went where.

  13. Roger on July 16th, 2021 8:44 am

    A City Manager hired by the City Council works for the Council not the citizens of Century. The Council only wants power to do as THEY please. Do not fall fpr this. An elected Mayor asnwers to the people.

  14. Fisherman on July 16th, 2021 8:23 am

    How did some of these people qualify to be on this committee. Is there a list of their qualifications or was Century so hard up they took what they could get. Some of them need to clean up their own mess before worrying about Century.

  15. SMW on July 16th, 2021 8:21 am

    I think the problem is with the council members not liking change! Mayor Boutwell is a good, honest man. He truly wants what is best for the town of Century. Now I did not agree with him on the $10,000 for fireworks but I think he is trying to satisfy the cry babies in the area. He gets voted against on all angles no matter what the issue is. He is trying to bring the town out of the 50’s and into the 21st century in both areas financially and with better upgraded services that a lot of residents do not currently have access to. At least he is not doing free Blues concerts for some residents which was in reality paid for by the ones that actually pay taxes in Century. And lets face it most in the Town of Century do NOT pay taxes. Most live off the system and milk it every which way they can. It is embarrassing. Everyone on the town council and even residents in Century need to put their Big People Undies on and grow up and work together!

  16. Gene on July 16th, 2021 7:24 am

    In other words remove power of the people to replace them if they don’t like the job they are doing. That’s crazy.

  17. Judy on July 16th, 2021 7:21 am

    “making the elected mayor a weak position, perhaps mostly figurehead.”. The Town of Century cannot afford a “Figurehead”. If he has no authority or power, get rid of the position and let the crooked continue to run the place as they have been doing! :(

  18. tg on July 16th, 2021 7:20 am

    They failed to discuss best idea of shutting down Century and giving it to Escambia County.

  19. mic hall on July 16th, 2021 7:03 am

    Is it time to discontinue Century? I don’t know of anyplace that is consistently mismanaged like this one. It shows you just how bad things are when returning to the county as unincorporated would be an improvement.

  20. Bewildered on July 16th, 2021 6:42 am

    Totally OUT THERE. Mayor would be like the Queen of England! Totally useless -strictly a figure head but paid generously out of the public dole. Makes you wonder what kick backs this appointed city manager promised the council members If they strip the mayor of all powers why not follow up and get rid of all the council members as well. Sad that there are no qualified intelligent leaders living in Century – but it is what it is.

  21. Anne on July 16th, 2021 5:52 am

    Betcha the “New City Manager” will be the dude from Gulf Breeze “PROPER” even though he doesn’t live in Century or Escambia County…

  22. Carola on July 16th, 2021 5:50 am

    How many times in the last 2 months has Century been
    in the news for every crime out there?
    Why create another position and expense for a city manager just to take power away from the mayor? Get rid of the mayor, evidently
    he/she is not handling the duties they were elected to do. Asking for a friend who lives in Century that can’t ask the question for fear of retaliation.

  23. tim on July 16th, 2021 3:50 am


  24. Alan on July 16th, 2021 3:00 am

    Somehow I get the feeling the City Manager will be hired by the council and not voted into office by the voters. Just a wild guess.

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