What Is A Charter?
Mayor Leary’s Message – July 2019
The city is in the process of reviewing its charter. Many residents may not be aware of the importance of this governing document. A municipal charter is the equivalent of a local constitution and the city’s charter begins with this preamble:
We the people of the City of Winter Park, Florida, under the authority of the constitution and laws of the State of Florida, adopt this Charter to define the powers and structure of this City and to secure the benefits of home rule. This action also affirms the values of a representative democracy, professional management, strong political leadership, high ethical standards, citizen participation, and regional cooperation. We desire for Winter Park to be the best place to live, work, and play in central Florida by creating an open and responsive government and preserving a superior quality of life for the current residents and future generations.
Our charter governs the form and powers of the city and the general responsibilities of the legislative and administrative powers. It addresses important topics such as the organization of city government, corporate boundaries, terms of office, functions of elected officials, election standards, budget adoption, and personnel management (city administration).
There have been many amendments made to various sections of the charter since its last overall adoption by referendum on November 8, 1983. The city has the ability to evaluate and revise the charter every 10 years and its last review was in 2009.
In March the Winter Park City Commission appointed a temporary Charter Review Advisory Committee to evaluate the City Charter for potential amendments and make recommendations to the commission. The first Charter Review Advisory Committee meeting was held on April 23, 2019. This committee is seeking input on any revisions that should be considered for the charter prior to the committee making its recommendations to the commission.
The committee meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month until the last scheduled meeting Tuesday, September 24, 2019. Committee meetings are at 6 p.m. at the Winter Park Community Center, located at 721 W. New England Ave.
Once the Charter Review Advisory Committee makes their recommendations to the City Commission for consideration of a required ordinance, two public hearings will take place: Monday, November 11, and Monday, November 25, at the regularly-scheduled commission meeting. The recommendations may be accepted and offered as an ordinance completely or in part. If the ordinance is approved by a majority of the commission, charter amendments would be voted on by Winter Park residents at the next general election which is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
If you are unable to attend the committee meetings, please share your input by emailing CharterReview@cityofwinterpark.org before Friday, August 30, 2019.
Additional questions or concerns regarding the Winter Park Charter Review Advisory Committee may be directed to 407-599-3277.
Your input is important and we hope you will participate in this process.
Mayor Steve Learyby