Charter Ideas Go to Council; Panel's Recommendations Include Education Reform, Power of the Mayor

By Mitchell, Tia | The Florida Times Union, March 1, 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Charter Ideas Go to Council; Panel's Recommendations Include Education Reform, Power of the Mayor

Mitchell, Tia, The Florida Times Union


Historically speaking, the Jacksonville City Council rarely does much with the Charter Revision Commission's recommendations.

But this year, with an ailing school district renewing calls for sweeping reform, there appears to be a willingness to allow voters to weigh in on this and other issues at the polls.

Council President Richard Clark said the council is not likely to stand in the way of continued conversations.

"I'd be very surprised, if any recommendation that they bring to us that would require a voter referendum, if we don't agree to pursue that avenue," he said.

Commission Chairman Wyman Duggan finalized the report Friday and will formally present it to the council on March 9. The 33-page document outlines each recommendation, as well as supporting information to explain how the commission came to its decision.

The hot topic, of course, is whether the mayor should have greater control of public schools by appointing Duval County School Board members.

There is disagreement on whether this change can be implemented by a local voter referendum or a statewide constitutional amendment is required. Regardless, some City Council members say they agree with Mayor John Peyton that it is a conversation that should take place with a ballot initiative being the conversation-starter.

"I think on big charter issues and things that affect, particularly, the election process - that all belongs to the voters, and I think they should weigh in on any changes," Councilman John Crescimbeni said.

But that doesn't mean he supports the idea of an appointed School Board. Crescimbeni, like other council members, said he believes in preserving the right to elect board members.

"I'm just not convinced that an appointed board is a cure-all," he said.

Council Vice President Jack Webb said of the five education-related recommendations, he likes the one with the lowest priority the best. That recommendation calls for the City Council and School Board to work together to change state laws to give school principals more autonomy in decision-making.

"The problems that we have are not so much structural; it's just a question of strong leadership," he said.

It remains to be seen how much of the Charter Revision Commission's recommendations end up on a ballot referendum or if the council pursues other avenues to change the city's constitution, such as a bill in the Legislature.

One recommendation, to change the term of the commission itself, can be done by a simple majority vote of the council.

Past Charter Revision commissions have seen few of their most controversial recommendations embraced by council members.

In 1998, the City Council defeated a suggestion from the Charter Revision Commission for staggered council terms. Their concern was that all 19 council members are elected at the same time, which sometimes creates large classes of freshmen who need weeks being brought up to speed before they vote on the budget and other major issues.

In 1988, the commission recommended term limits for local elected officials but the council wouldn't put the issue on the ballot. Instead, a citizen-driven campaign received enough signatures for a referendum, which passed overwhelmingly in 1991., (904) 359-4425



The recommendation: Create an ethics code that applies to all workers in the consolidated government.

How it came about: It is part of a longer list of suggestions from the Ethics Commission and Ethics Officer Carla Miller.

Pros and cons: Supporters say this clarifies the Ethics Commission's role as a watchdog over all government officials, not just those who work in City Hall. The independent authorities have argued that they have their own ethics officers and internal procedures for investigating allegations, but have indicated they would not oppose the proposal.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Charter Ideas Go to Council; Panel's Recommendations Include Education Reform, Power of the Mayor


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?