Wednesday, May 2, 2018

City of Clearwater could be on the verge of a major mistake

Once a strong mayor is elected everything that is done is done through a political lens.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

There is a move underway in Clearwater to replace the Council manager form of Governance with a strong Mayor form of Governance.

It requires a referendum vote to change the City’s Charter.

Clearwater citizens only need to look south to St. Petersburg to see what a truly bad idea a change to the strong mayor really is.

Here is some detail by Tampa Bay Times Tracey McManus, A strong mayor for Clearwater? Some think it’s time.

Here is the interesting thing about these initiatives. They are seldom proposed by a group of regular citizens. They are always supported by the “business” community with the strong backing of the Chamber of Commerce.

What is the real point?

The Strong Mayor government is a chance for the business community to get control of the Mayor’s office while changing how the organization is structured. Everything becomes politicized and the focus as you can see in the article above is about business and business development.

Not about the whole City.

If a City Manager gets caught in a pack of lies, he is usually out immediately.

If a strong Mayor gets caught in a pack of lies, think Kriseman and the St. Pete Pier, and the sewage crisis. The only way you get rid of them is by voting them out and if the lies support the business community, they will and have made it difficult to dethrone an incumbent.

I was working for St. Petersburg before and after the change to the form of governance and from personal experience, I can assure you from day one everything changed from business to politics.

Once a strong mayor is elected everything that is done is done through a political lens. Campaign contributions and elections become pivotal around decisions.

Senior staff serves a politician and not a manager. Elected strong mayors frequently lack the managerial skills necessary to run a large organization and usually lack the courage to admit then don’t.

The power brokers, those "business people” will often seek out a candidate they know is compromised or weak, so they can be manipulated and then put up the money to get him or her elected.

Note in the McManus article all the talk is about development and down town and the beaches. What about the rest of the City that will have to pay for all of that along with the infrastructure to support it?

What they are really saying is we have run out of legitimate ways to make money, so we would like to have control of the Clearwater government, so we can exploit every opportunity.

When this charter amendment comes to a vote regardless of how they white wash it, how many of the “business people” and former and current politicians trumpet its great value, how much they trot out the Church of Scientology as the boogey man don’t buy it.

Not one single retired person, or working Joe will benefit any from this change, but they will have the opportunity to pay for it.

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Contributor to: Rick Scott for Senate
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