FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

City of Fernandina Beach to conduct first mail ballot only election this spring

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 8, 2021

The City of Fernandina Beach will conduct a Special Election to allow all City registered voters to have their say on 20 proposed changes to the Fernandina Beach City Charter.  The changes were proposed by the Charter Review Committee last year and approved for voter referendum by the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC).  Due to the length and complexity of the questions, the FBCC opted for a Mail Ballot Election to give voters more time to review and decide.

All registered City of Fernandina Beach voters will receive their ballots in the mail starting March 1 (overseas ballots) and March 24 (domestic ballots).  The completed ballots must be returned and received by the Supervisor of Elections by 7:00 p.m. on April 13, the official Election Day.

Although Election Day is April 13, this Election is Vote by Mail ONLY. There will be no polling places open on Election Day.

If you are a resident of the City of Fernandina Beach who has not yet registered to vote, you may do so by March 15, 2021.  Information on voter registration may be found on the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections website:  https://www.votenassau.com. 

These are the Charter questions being put to the voters on the Special Election ballot:

Question No. 1
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to change the word “groups” to “seats” to be more clear that City Commissioners do not serve districts but are elected at large for one seat?

Question No. 2
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to provide that City Commissioners must complete annual performance evaluations for Charter Officers, and that City Commissioners who directly interfere in administrative duties of City employees may be subject to sanctions by the City Commission and forfeiture of their Commission seat after a public hearing?

Question No. 3
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to provide that a City Commissioner convicted of a felony, is absent from 3 regular meetings in a year or violates the Florida Code of Ethics for Public Officers is suspended from office pending a hearing that can result with the accused Commissioner forfeiting their Commission seat, and that the City Commission fills vacancies on the Commission by appointment?

Question No. 4
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to provide for a binding election by the voters for Mayor instead of the current non-binding straw ballot election of Mayor and appointment by City Commission?

Question No. 5
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to provide that the Mayor is responsible for ensuring that City Commissioners complete annual performance evaluations for all Charter Officers (City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk)?

Question No. 6
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to allow a City Commissioner suffering from a serious medical condition to use media technology to attend and cast votes at City Commission meetings?

Question No. 7
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to provide that the City Commission must consider more than one City Manager candidate for hire, that the City Manager must have prior management experience and be a member of a professional organization for city managers, and that the City Manager has 90 days to become a resident of the City after taking the oath of office?

Question No. 8
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to require that the City Attorney be admitted to practice law in all courts of the state and in federal courts, and that it is preferred that the City Attorney be board certified in local government law by the Florida Bar Association?

Question No. 9
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to require referendum approval by the voters in the City before the Police Department could be dissolved?

Question No. 10
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to require referendum approval by the voters in the City before the Fire Department could be dissolved?

Question No. 11
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to require that the City Clerk be a member of a professional clerk’s association, that the City Commission have an employment contract with the City Clerk and that the City Clerk propose a City Clerk pro tem to serve in the absence of the City Clerk?

Question No. 12
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to require that the Comptroller:

a) have professional credentials such as Certified Public Accountant; b) be a member of the Florida Government Finance Officers Association; c) propose sound investment policies for the City; and d) schedule an annual financial audit of City accounts by an independent certified public accountant?

Question No. 13
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to prohibit any transfers of money from the Land Conservation Trust Fund to any other City fund and that no funds in the Land Conservation Trust Fund can be appropriated for any purpose other than those set forth in the Fernandina Beach Land Conservation Program?

Question No. 14
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to delete prohibitions on community redevelopment areas (CRA’s) that limit the number to no more than 2 CRA’s in the City and that no CRA can be created with properties valued collectively at more than 2% of the total assessed value of all property in the City?

Question No. 15
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to provide for oath of office language for every City employee, board member and City Commissioner that includes requirements of state law and additional affirmations to abide by the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Code o Ethics for Public Officers and Employees?

Question No. 16
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to provide that Charter Officers and advisory board members as well as City Commissioners have the power to cause any City department or the conduct of any City officer or employee to be investigated in accordance with City procedures?

Question No. 17
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to provide for a citizen initiative process to introduce new ordinances to the City Commission for approval, and if rejected by the City Commission, the ordinance initiative would go to voters of the City at a referendum election?

Question No. 18
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to provide that the City Charter must be reviewed every 8 years and require the City Commission to appoint a Charter Review Committee made up of City electors to make recommendations for changes to the City Charter?

Question No. 19
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to correct errors and describe the City as:

City of Fernandina was first established in 1825, then abolished and reincorporated in 1921 by the Florida Legislature. The Town of Fernandina Beach was established in 1949 by the Florida Legislature. The City of Fernandina and the Town of Fernandina Beach were consolidated as the City of Fernandina Beach on January 1, 1952 after approval by voters?

Question No. 20
Should the City of Fernandina Beach Charter be amended to remove certain provisions that are already covered by state law, clarify certain provisions without changing the meaning by combining sections or moving sections, and revise certain provisions to be consistent with state law?

For more information on City of Fernandina Beach elections, you may visit the City website http://fbfl.us/175/Elections or contact the office of the City Clerk at (904) 310-3115.

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