I firmly believe in the adage “Government for the people by the people”. However, with our current City Council, we do not have any representation by the Residents of the City of Oviedo in the formulation of our governmental guidelines. Our City Charter (City of Oviedo Charter exhibit), which is, in my opinion our City of Oviedo Constitution, is comprised of the rules that we the Citizens set for our politicians to govern by. The Charter clearly states, in Section 3.11 Five-Year Review, “At least once every five (5) years after the adoption of this Charter and more often if the City Council deems necessary or desirable, the City Council shall appoint a Charter Review Committee to review the City Charter and recommend additions, deletions, or changes to the City Council for its consideration”. The word “shall”, (per Merriam Webster the definition of shall is used in laws, regulations, or directives to express what is mandatory). In the past this Review Committee has been comprised of City Residents.
On April 2, 2018 (Revised Minutes per April 16, 2018 meeting exhibit) our City Council, after providing several reasons why a committee should not be appointed to review the Charter, appointed themselves as the committee to review the Charter. This action was given legal standing by our City Attorney who stated the Council met the requirements of committee appointees. Reasons given by City Council not to have a Charter Review Committed appointed included (1) our City Attorney said the City of Oviedo already has a good Charter. (2) Charter Reviews had been held in the past and nothing came of them and (3) not having the review will save the taxpayers money. The Charter states that it shall be reviewed every 5 years or sooner and no reasons to forgo this review are given in the Charter.
The vote to make the Council the review committee was supposed to be just for the topic of getting term limits onto the ballot in November, (ultimately these term limits were scrapped at a later date). However, since the April 2, 2018 meeting the Council has not appointed a Charter Review Committee or set a Charter Review date, which is dictated by the Charter.
My questions to you the voters are these. (1) Do you feel comfortable with a governing body that voted away the rights of the Citizens of Oviedo to have the guaranteed Charter review that would hold Council accountable? (2) Do you feel comfortable with a governing body now in a position to dictate to the Residents what their agendas are with no representation from the City Residents? (3) Do you feel our rights to review this Charter should have a price tag placed on this review, in other words does our right to participate in our City democracy have a monetary price?
As a Councilman, I would make a motion to have a legitimate Charter Review Committee put in place to allow the people of our City to once again participate in its government.
Respectful of Oviedo’s Past…Focused on Oviedo’s Future