Boca Raton City Council Baby Swamp Creature Has Arrived
Most people don’t pay attention to what local government does during the holidays. In Boca Raton, the city council is considering an amendment to the city charter, extending term limits for future and current city council members from 3 to 4 years. The city council tried to do this before turkey day without anyone noticing.
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I wrote about this the day before the city council meeting when the ordinance was to be introduced. It is important to note that the city council cannot just vote on something like this and make it happen. They can vote to have an amendment to the city charter put on the next ballot for residents to vote, which is March 2023.
During the meeting on November 22, a city council member needed to introduce the ordinance. The actual vote wouldn’t be until the December 12 meeting.
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When Mayor Singer asked for someone to introduce it, Councilwoman Yvette Drucker introduced the ordinance after an inordinately long pause. But the next move is the one that everyone needs to pay attention to.
Councilman Andy Thomson had to give up his seat to run for State Representative, leaving a vacancy on the council. No one filed to run against Fran Nachlas for city council in November. After discussing how paperwork and swearing-in would need to be completed and Nachlas needing time to go over the agenda for the December 12 meeting, Nachlas was sworn in on November 28.
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Why not have her start after the new year? Why is it important to have that seat filled right now instead of in March, and why is this important to you? The term limit vote is December 12, and with five members on the council, there is no danger of a tied vote. My guess is Nachlas is going to vote for extending term limits. This would make her new unopposed term last for almost 4.5 years instead of 3 years. That’s a long time if she ends up being a lousy councilwoman.
At the time of the last article, I did not reach out to Mayor Scott Singer for comment. If he didn’t want this ordinance on the agenda, it wouldn’t have been on the agenda. But for this article, I reached out to him for a statement. I told him I wanted to be completely fair and asked if he wanted to extend term limits for city council members, including his term, and if he thought it was right to extend his term.
Here is his response from his city email.
The voters would have to approve the proposed amendment. Council members would not be extending their own terms; rather, the residents would vote. Any change to the current cycle necessarily has to extend a term for someone; there is no way to do otherwise. The change may reduce the influence of special interests, which was a reason voters approved a similar change in 2006.
Seriously. This is the message Singer sent to me. He didn’t answer any of the questions and, in typical swamp speak, gave me a non-response. In my last article, I mentioned that this vote changed the city charter and that residents would have to vote on it. The city council decides whether or not this should go on the next ballot for the residents to vote on. So the part we already knew was the answer he gave me. He’s saying, it’s not me who wants this, but it may be you who wants it, even though it’s probably my idea.
So the question now becomes, whose idea was it to have this on the agenda for the city council? Are we supposed to believe that this self-serving term extension idea came about because thousands of residents sent emails or made calls begging for these people to extend their terms? It’s possible, but I find that doubtful. I guess that exactly zero people made this request.
Singer’s answer is an insult to your intelligence. If this goes through, due to his special election when he first took office, he could become Boca Raton’s mayor for ten consecutive years instead of 6.
I reached out to Nachlas for this follow-up article. The message I sent her was similar to the one Mayor Singer received. No response. I sent one last message to her, giving her another chance to be transparent and have her say. I asked if she believed in term limits or not. If this goes through, her term would be about 4.5 years instead of 3. Does she think this is right? No response. Not a good sign for things to come.
Singer and Nachlas are both Republicans. Less government interference and term limits are foundational beliefs that most Republicans agree on. Why do these two seem to want more time in office? Do they think they’re special, or shouldn’t the rules apply to them? Singer’s point about special interest groups could be valid, except that if this goes on the ballot, who do you think will be funding the campaign to get residents to vote in favor of it?
Special interest groups who want to keep their favorite swamp creature in office will be the ones to fund it through a political action committee.
The vote for this amendment will be on the agenda for the next city council meeting on December 12 at 6:00 PM. If this vote goes through, we will know who voted for it, and it will be up to the residents to vote against this power grab on the next ballot.
The people can stop this from going on the ballot. The people get to decide. Please email and call the Boca City Council members and let them know if you oppose their power grab.
Mayor Scott Singer
City Council Member & Deputy Mayor Andrea Levine O’Rourke
City Council Member Yvette Drucker
City Council Member & CRA Chair Monica Mayotte
Incoming City Council Member Fran Nachlas
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