The historic Town of Eatonville will not move to a new strong-mayor form of government after voters rejected to accept a new town charter. The amendment was rejected as 60 percent of those voting circled ‘no.’
If passed, Eatonville Mayor Bruce Mount would have been given full administrative control. One of Mount’s chief complaints, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel, is that the town’s council made changes to his salary and staff, and the current charter does not allow him to oppose such a move.
By moving to this new format, not only would Mount have received increased political power, his pay would have bumped by a full 400 percent. Before the council decreased the mayor’s pay, Mount’s salary was a modest $21,000. But due to budget shortfalls, the council decided to cut Mount’s pay down to just $12,000.
The town’s council and the city’s mayor are at odds, and apparently are locked in a political fight. This new charter would have shifted the political pendulum away from the council, which some believe is a reason why the four person panel fought against the amendment.
The new charter would have imposed term limits on the council and altered how they are elected. Currently members of the city council are elected town wide and the new charter would have moved them to single member districts.
Outside of this rejected amendment and the political attention on the city, Eatonville’s political authority has a lot of work ahead of them. The mayor is upset that he’s handcuffed politically, the council would like to move the city forward without ceding total control to the mayor according to recent news stories, and it leaves the city influx.
What’s next for America’s first incorporated all-black town after Tuesday night’s vote? Hopefully, it’s progress.
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