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Charter commission vote made good sense

March 23, 2016
Pine Island Eagle

A bid to add two members to the Lee County Board of County Commissioners while also changing how those representatives would be elected narrowly failed a Lee County Charter Review Commission vote earlier this month.

Although the vote was 8-7 in favor of passing the proposed amendment along to the county commission for final consideration for the ballot, the measure went down because nine votes were needed to move it forward.

Count us among those not disappointed by the charter commission vote.

The so-called "hybrid" initiative would replace an elected board made up of five elected-at-large board members with a seven-person panel of two at large members and five elected-by-district-only representatives.

It's a bad idea because not only would the "hybrid" proposal reduce the ability of voters to cast a ballot for every seat, it would add a million dollars to administrative costs for zip, zero, nada with no guarantee of adding diversity - or any other benefit - to the process.

And the "let-the-voters-decide argument" proffered as a primary reason to put the amendment on the ballot?

Although voters approved a similar change for the Lee County School Board, we don't hear the voters clamoring for any such change at the county level where "hybrid" amendment proposals have, in fact, failed to pass muster over the years.

Winnowing out "ballot clutter" is a charter commission duty. It also is the responsibility of the Lee County Commission, should an end-run be proffered or should any board member decide to pick up the dead ball left lying on the field.

We await with eagerness to see if the million bucks pulled out of Lee County classrooms to get "better" school board members is going to provide a return for that annual investment of tax dollars that otherwise would be spent on things like kids, programs, more teachers, or needed infrastructure.

Given the charter commission vote, we, apparently, are not the only ones.

Kudos to those on the Lee County Charter Review Commission who had the good sense to vote no.

- Eagle editorial



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