Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Overton's `Spoils' Draw Kravitz Heat

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Overton's `Spoils' Draw Kravitz Heat

Article excerpt

City Council members who vote for the loser in a council

president election nearly always pay a price.

Chairmanships and the best committee assignments go to those

who backed the winner, though incoming presidents rarely admit

that such a political spoils system figures into their

decisions.

Council President-elect Jim Overton was candid this week when

he announced his leadership team and committee assignments.

Overton said council members who supported his opponent would

have less influence in the upcoming year, noting that is how the

political spoils system works.

That was a bit much for Councilman Dick Kravitz, who supported

Mike Hogan's unsuccessful last-minute challenge to Overton and

ended up with two committee assignments instead of the three

that Overton's supporters got.

"We do not need to be carrying this spoils garbage into the

next year," Kravitz said in a letter to Overton. "It is divisive

and totally unprofessional."

Kravitz questioned why Overton would want to minimize any

council member's influence on legislation simply because he or

she didn't vote for him.

"Quite frankly, that remark has an aristocratic smell to it,"

he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Kravitz, a former council president now in his third term, said

his constituents want him to have as much influence on

legislation as possible.

He said he didn't cheat Overton's constituency by minimizing

his influence on legislation after Overton backed Eric Smith

over him for president. Instead, Kravitz noted, he made Overton

a chairman.

Overton said he takes exception to Kravitz's charges, saying

their dispute dates back to previous council leadership

elections. Despite not always being on the same side, Overton

said he and Kravitz have worked well together.

Overton also said any council member who wants to serve on

three committees likely will end up doing so. He also said he

picked the best people for the leadership posts.

"It just so happens that I think I picked the right people for

committee chairmanships," Overton said. …

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