Charter Review Committee Wants To Make Century Mayor A Council Member

October 13, 2021

The Century Charter Review Committee wants to make the elected mayor a member of the town council and delegate most authority for running the municipality to a hired town manager.

The committee voted in July that a charter rewrite would form a town manager-council form of government, making the elected mayor a weak position, perhaps mostly a figurehead. With a show of hands Tuesday afternoon, the committee decided 4-2 that the mayor will serve as a council member and chair of the council. As such, the mayor would not be allowed to discuss town business with other council members away from public meetings under Florida’s Sunshine Law. Contact with council members would be the responsibility of the town manager.

The committee decided to remove an outdated mayoral spending limit from the charter, which currently stands at $500 for emergencies or $200 otherwise.

If the charter review committee completes a rewrite, the changes would go the town council to decide if the recommendation will go on the ballot for a citizen vote.

Comments

17 Responses to “Charter Review Committee Wants To Make Century Mayor A Council Member”

  1. Edna Earle on October 14th, 2021 11:08 am

    I don’t know where this committee is coming from…..????? .WE THE PEOPLE ELECTED, Ben Boutwell. to represent OUR town as our MAYOR……..not a council member.
    Give the man a chance to do the job as mayor, HE IS CAPABLE… Maybe a good place to start would be some education about the responsibility of the council and mayor. ALL are elected ~~~~…arrive at meetings on time with knowledge of subjects to be discussed…….. Please try to find ways to work together. You were elected to HELP the town survive and grow ….It’s OUR town ……Please work together to try to keep it…otherwise ~~~~???????? WE all know the answer~~~

  2. Connie on October 14th, 2021 9:15 am

    I agree with both “Jim Stanton” a nd “Things not what they seem…. on October 13th”. Let the ELECTED Mayor do his job and please hire for the right reasons not because you are a friend, relative, etc. The town needs people working to make it a better place, it also needs knowledgeable people in place to keep things running efficiently. I have commented many times on this forum, I have lived in Century for a year and a half and I truly want to see this little town be all that it can be. I hate hearing people laugh and run down this town. Please people understand that Ben Boutwell was elected by majority vote, let him do his job, don’t take away the vote of the people.

  3. William Reynolds on October 13th, 2021 11:09 pm

    “On second thought, yes I think additional suggestions were made by a consultation with Florida League of Cities”

    He was an independent consultant hired by the Florida League of Cities. His report was his independent recommendations, not of those of the League.

    He recommend town officials learn about government operations, then have a “comprehensive review” of the charter. That was open-ended, calling for the review but not specifically a rewrite.

    A strong executive administrator was recommended by him.

  4. Citizen on October 13th, 2021 11:02 pm

    William
    On second thought, yes I think additional suggestions were made by a consultation with Florida League of Cities. I think I’ll go look for those also.

    I was surprised they didn’t follow the suggestion of the Grand Jury actually.

  5. Citizen on October 13th, 2021 10:56 pm

    Mr Stanton
    The county wasn’t paying two Administrators exactly although the past one has two assistant Administrators on the payroll.

    Additional Thoughts:

    As far as people who put in their name to run on the council and the electorate voted for them, Why? Do they know how to run a town?

    You have to have someone who understands the laws and sets out to do things in a timely matter by Florida Statutes, you have to maintain the utilities and bill correctly.

    The Grand Jury suggested to sell all the utilities and divest the liability.
    It looks like the gas department is up to par now. What happened with selling it to Pensacola Energy?

    People may not be at the meetings but we are watching.

    There just aren’t a lot of people that live here that have a lot of talent to maintain the incorporation. We were on the final thread yet things were looking up.

    Surprise us.
    Don’t try to hire a friend of a friend of a friend in the community. Hire someone who knows how to do the job as manager.

    Or throw in the towel.

  6. William Reynolds on October 13th, 2021 10:48 pm

    “A grand Jury was assembled and made a report with some suggestions, to update the charter was a suggestion. There were others, one was to have a town manager.”

    Neither of those “suggestions” or recommendations were made by the Grand Jury. (An amendment to the charter was recommended to “provide that the Town will be solely responsible for roads, parks and land use programs”, but there was nothing more.)

  7. Citizen on October 13th, 2021 10:39 pm

    To JEC
    A grand Jury was assembled and made a report with some suggestions, to update the charter was a suggestion. There were others, one was to have a town manager. At the time SAO returned no true bill. March 2019

    The town council called for applications for volunteers and they formed a Citizen Advisory Task Force, which is appointed and they are under the sunshine law. . They are residents.

    I think there are some bylaws but essentially they report their suggestions to the council and the council does what they need to do to get it on the ballot for a vote from the residents.

    I think the council can vote to sunset the committee also.

    They need to take another look over the Grand Jury Report and make sure they have taken steps and continue to remedy mismanagement.

    Buz Eddy came in for a while and suggested Mr. Prather. Since Mr. Prather is resigning, it seems we are back at square 1, except some changes were made.

    Some were not. It might behoove then to look over that document again. One suggestion was they ask the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee to look over their operations. Did they?

  8. JEC on October 13th, 2021 7:39 pm

    So what exactly are the qualifications of this committee to re-organize any form of government? Who actually called on them to do this?

  9. CJ Lewis on October 13th, 2021 2:20 pm

    The simplest way to set up an effective Council-Manager form of government with a professional chief administrative officer (who should be required to live in Century) and a leadership mayor who is a voting member and the presiding officer of the council would be to avoid the usual laundry list of powers and duties. Simply say that the town manager shall exercise the powers and perform the duties as directed by the town council and the mayor shall exercise the additional powers and additional duties – above and beyond those of a regular council member – as directed by the town council. The town council can adopt ordinances or resolutions to lay out these powers and duties. They can also just talk among themselves and ask the mayor to do something and he or she likely would. Not everything has to be done formally by vote. This approach gives flexibility to make regular adjustments without voter approval of every minor change to include punctuation. It also provides growth room so that as the town council gets more comfortable with the town manager they can give that person more latitude. Right now, it is pretty shocking that the town council is far down in the weeds on petty issues. As the new charter gets sore more details, it should provide for all “at-large” elections by which I mean every Century voter gets to vote in every town council election. That ensures fuller accountability and should not be an issue in a place like Century where everyone knows each other. In addition, changing to two year terms of office will keep council members more on their toes again making them more accountable to voters. Add a provision that says if a council member fails to attend the full duration of a requirement meeting – from start to finish – their pay gets docked say 1% for the rest of their term of office. If they fail to attend a certain percentage of meetings within a certain time frame, say 85% within any period of six months, the Charter could provide that they forfeit their elected office by operation of law and are removed from office. That will ensure they show up. Of course, there would be exceptions for medical or family emergencies but just not feeling like you want to show up at a meeting, a common practice in Pensacola, is a shameful practice especially when they demand to be paid in full. To get things moving, the Charter Review Committee could right now ask the Town Council to ask voters to approve making the Mayor a voting member and the leader of the council. The Council President would be abolished. State law permits these changes in powers and duties to be made prior to the end of the term of office of an elected official. I think doing that change now would quiet down those who thing that any changes are personnel directed at Mayor Boutwell. I suspect that everyone’s stress level would go down if the new arrangement provided for the mayor to work as part of the council vice as an adversary. I would encourage the Century Mayor and Town Council to take a field trip to Gulf Breeze to attend a Gulf Breeze City Council meeting. See how it works there and it does. Hey, how about Century and Gulf Breeze becoming “sister cities” to work together on projects!

  10. Citizen on October 13th, 2021 2:16 pm

    Just try to hire a person who can manage the utilities properly and get rid of employees not doing their jobs correctly.
    Council work with Ben.
    We have Mr. Prather until December.
    I do not think the charter, if it gets to the ballot will be changed.

    If you have 6 voting members it will be a mess.

    Leave Boutwell to do his thing with his connections and good attitude, getting along with the commissioner, the sheriff and other representatives.

    We have funds for the waste treatment plant and wells and projects need to be completed.

    We appreciate the committee stepping up, at least some are reading the charter.

    The government is run by the authority of Florida statues and ordinances, simple as that.

    Council tighten up, not impressed but you were elected. Personally I didn’t vote for most of you but that’s how it works.

  11. Jim Stanton on October 13th, 2021 11:51 am

    This committee is what needs to be done away with. A town manager hired by the town council wouldn’t be a manager, he or she would be a glorified YES PERSON to the town council, if they made one council person mad all that council person would need to do would be get two more members to vote to fire the YES PERSON and that person would be gone. If you don’t think it works that way, just look at Escambia county it’s happen more than once in Pensacola, in fact just this year the county was paying two county administrators because it happen. I believe this is the result of the mayor stepping on some council members toes and that council member is not adult enough to take it and move on, they and other council members are trying to get even.

  12. Things not what they seem.... on October 13th, 2021 9:55 am

    This is the most ridiculous idea , much less decision that I have ever heard. Mary Hudson Bourgeois, I really expected a little better out of you, as I thought you had a little common sense. We elected Ben Boutwell to be OUR mayor and to run the town, not sit up there with the mealy mouthed bunch of do nothing council members. We, the people are fed up with the likes of all of you!!! You are ruining our town and making it a laughing stock to all who watch and listen! We have council members who never show up for meetings, yet they vote! We have a council president who thinks he is a ruling king and everything has to be his way. This “charter review committee” sounds like a bunch of disenchanted, bitter old crones who need to bow out and say that you have no idea!! LEAVE OUR TOWN ALONE!!!!

  13. J-THE-G on October 13th, 2021 8:37 am

    JUST ABOLISH THE TOWN ALREADY

  14. Bob on October 13th, 2021 8:32 am

    Just moving the chairs around on the Titanic.

    Incompetence continues to thrive in Century…

    Play stupid games get stupid prizes…

  15. Just listening on October 13th, 2021 7:55 am

    No different than a Mayor/Council city operation. Never mind hiring a city manager, just another on the patrol doing nothing. A good strong Mayor is all Century needs. Drain the swamp.

  16. Willene Bryan on October 13th, 2021 5:20 am

    I didn’t think you people could get anymore ignorant, boy was I wrong.

  17. Jus Me on October 13th, 2021 3:14 am

    Why even have a mayor if your going to take away his authority?? This is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard of…You finally get someone in office who has some sense about himself and you try to do this. Walk away Mr Boutwell…





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