Tyrone's Tale of Two Charters

On January 24 the “new group” held a special called meeting for changing the charter of Tyrone. At that meeting according to The Citizen News the new Town Barrister (at his hourly rate using a common term like attorney is not fitting) Dennis Davenport said “The Town has functioned both previously and still today under a WEAK Mayor model of government.” At that meeting Mayor Rehwaldt stated that it was appropriate for the Town Manger and Police Chief to have hiring and firing responsibility in their respective departments. The Town has now posted a proposed charter on its web site. The charter on the web is a STRONG Mayor model of government. This charter gives the Mayor all the authority and responsibility for running the Town. With these two charters being sooooo different it brings two questions. First why are these charters so different. There are two plausible answers; either these new high priced barristers did not do their job in researching the existing charter and provided incorrect information or this “new group” is continuing their practice of secret meetings. Could be a combination of both. If the barristers provided inaccurate information to the council then they should be held accountable and not soak the taxpayers by submitting a bill their research time (wasn’t accountability one of this “new groups” commitment to the public). However, the most troubling question remains when did the “new group” get together to make the changes proposed on charter posted on the web? Since it was not the one discussed at the public meeting did they secretly gather at someone’s house; maybe it was done by a telephone conference; could have been done by email; no matter how they came up with these changes it was done without the public having access to their deliberations. The “new group” apparently is continuing to hold secret meetings and are violating State Law (they are now sworn in and are holding office so their old excuse won’t work). It is obvious that this “new group’s” campaign promise of open government was simply something they never intended. Based on what has gone on in January, it is clear that this “new group” is going to push through whatever changes they want and as far open government and accountability, don’t count on it.

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Submitted by Shaquita on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 10:22pm.

If you read my blog I never said that the Council was moving towards a Strong Mayor model of government. What I did say is that apparently the Council made changes to a charter at their January meeting that according to their attorney as reported in the Citizen was a WEAK mayor model of government charter. The charter posted on the web is a STRONG mayor model of government charter. These are two distinct different charters. The charter on the web that was not discussed at the January meeting but has proposed changes. Since this is a different charter than the one they had at the January meeting when did they get together to discuss the charter posted on the web and make those proposed changes? It certainly was not at any public meeting. I agree the changes are not very significant but reviewing a charter to make these proposed changes behind closed doors is significant. What does this "new group" have against having their discussions in public?

Submitted by boxwing on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 10:17am.

You're hiding behind gross generalizations and semantics. Your speak of "two distinct different charters" in talking about a "strong" versus "weak" mayor model. I will agree that those are two distinct models. However, that is not the issue at hand.

Tyrone has a current charter that it operates under and has for many years. What we should be discussing are proposed changes to that existing charter. Are you saying that the charter posted on the Tyrone town website IS NOT a modified version of the current charter? If so please illuminate us as to the SPECIFIC CHANGES from the CURRENT APPROVED Town Charter . If you can not, then you are conducting a campaign of misinformation.

So get specific and stop hiding your true meaning.

I will point out that even in the title of your response you resorted to a veiled personal attack on my education and intellect. Those types of comments are the refuge of someone who does not have a valid facts based argument. As I said earlier, we need to stop these emotional attacks and deal with the facts.

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Submitted by suggarfoot on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 11:18am.

Since you think everything is done in secrecy and on 'your watch', everything was in the open. Can you tell me who gave the permission for the new buildings on Palmeto Tyrone road to be on the right of way? I attend most meetings and I never heard it discussed. Could it be this variance was never granted? If it was, please tell us all when it went through the proper channels.

Submitted by boxwing on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 9:33am.

I have downloaded and read at length the proposed revised Charter from the Town of Tyrone website. All in all the changes are mostly administrative. The major changes as I see it are:

- Terms of the Mayor and Council are changed from 2 years to 4 years
- The quorum rule is strengthened to require one more Council member to be present
- The requirement to have ordinances voted on over two meetings can be waved if a majority of the Council approves. This means an ordinance can be introduced and voted on at the same meeting.

I see no substantive changes to the sections that delineate the powers and responsibilities of the Mayor, so I don't know how Ms. Shaquita is coming up with her notion that the revised Charter is moving to a "strong Mayor" model. And since that "notion" is the total basis of her accusations of "secret" meetings, I can assume that charge has no basis in fact as well.

Folks I think it is time to stop the "Hatfield- McCoy" type bickering we continue to see in Tyrone. Most of the discussions I read and hear are like Ms. Shaquita's above - emotionally based with no basis in fact.

I would like to believe that we can "agree to disagree honestly" as we plan and debate the future of our town. Let's get on with the real work of keeping Tyrone a great place to live!

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Submitted by suggarfoot on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 11:12am.

I agree. Have you ever seen anyone loose and act like this? I've not seen any of Presidential candidates acting like this? Is Rudy somewhere having a hissy fit and bad mouthing everyone? or Edwards running up and down the street with a bottle of JD bad mouthing? No, this is the most immature thing I've seen in a long time. Give it up Snella

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