FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

Only one “No” (CRA) for Final Election results in City of Fernandina Beach Special Election for City Charter Changes

By Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter-News Analyst
April 13, 2021

 

With all the votes counted, the results of the first mail ballot only election in the City of Fernandina Beach have been posted to the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections Website. www.votenassau.com. This election asked voters for up or down votes on 20 questions arising from deliberations of the City’s Charter Review Committee in 2020.

Ballots were mailed to 12,260  active eligible City voters at the end of March 2021. Of those, only 2,431 or 19.83 percent were cast by 7:00 p.m. on April 13, the official election day.

Question No. 1 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – No
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 – Yes
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 of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees?

Question No. 16 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
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 – Yes
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to correct errors and describe the City as:
The 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 – Yes
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?

Share this story!