Charter candidates stump for votes

 

Charter candidates stump for votes

 

Date: September 23, 2010
by: Robin Roy | City Editor

 
 

Many in the county view the Charter Review Board as one of the most important elected offices. The county’s charter is essentially its constitution, and board members are tasked with suggesting changes to that document and places those suggestions on referenda. Two Charter Review Board races are up for grabs in the Nov. 2 election.

DISTRICT 2
Diana Harrington
Age: 67
Hometown: Wetumka, Okla.
Family: Widowed with one son and two grandsons
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, history and economics from the University of Oklahoma.
Career: Formerly vice president of New York Law Publishing Co. and currently arts editor for Living Out East and On the Bay magazines.

Why do you want to be on the Charter Review Board?
I want to be actively involved in the governing of Sarasota County. I believe the Charter Review Board has the ability and, indeed, the mandate for listening to the people and being an accessible arm of county government.
 
What would you change, if anything, in the charter?
The Charter Review Board is not a body that deals with pressing issues. (It’s) a deliberative body that offers the pubic an opportunity to place referendums on the ballot — a truly democratic process by design, accessible to the public. The CRB should belong to all citizens, and its members must work diligently to make informed and impartial decisions on every proposal.
 
Should a board member only take suggested charter changes from citizens or should he suggest changes himself?
As a member of Charter Review Board, I will exercise due diligence in my research of issues, listen thoughtfully and carefully to my fellow Board members, as well as to those who come before us. I will be mindful that local government is the most important level of government to us all, and as such, impacts our lives directly and intimately.


DISTRICT 2
Steve Fields
Age: 44
Family: Married
Hometown: Terre Haute, Ind.
Education: Finance degree from North Georgia College and University
Career: Self-employed game designer

Why do you want to be on the Charter Review Board?
To ensure that proposed amendments are given the thoughtful and deliberate consideration that they deserve. Changes to the charter should promote transparency, fiscal responsibility and accountability in our county government.

What would you change, if anything, in the charter?
There are several areas of the charter that could benefit from closer review.  However, more pressing are some of the recently proposed changes that would eliminate the independence of the board or render it irrelevant.  Attempts to change board members from elected to appointed are unwise.  Allowing elected officials to appoint members to a board that may curtail their own powers reduces accountability. Also, convening the board only every 10 years is a bad idea that would remove any chance the citizens might have to address issues and seek remedies in a timely manner. 
 
Should a board member only take suggested charter changes from citizens or should he suggest changes himself?
The source of proposed amendments is not really relevant to the mission of the board. Any citizen should be able to propose charter amendments. I feel that this gives the voters greater access to government and a voice towards its improvement.


DISTRICT 5
Kevin Connelly

Age: 70
Family: Married
Hometown: Southampton, N.Y.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in marketing from University of Notre Dame
Career: U.S. Army (four tours in Vietnam War), economic developer for U.S. Agency for International Development and founder of Apollo Sunguard Systems Inc.

Why do you want to be on the Charter Review Board?
To ensure that the people’s voice can continue to be heard as a vital part of our democracy.

What would you change, if anything, in the charter?
Keep the Charter Review Board an elected body and to have the board meet on a more regularly scheduled basis.

Should a board member only take suggested charter changes from citizens or should he suggest changes himself?
The charter states: “The Charter Review Board shall review and recommend changes to the county charter for the improvement of county government.” I believe the suggested improvement may come from a board member or from citizens.


DISTRICT 5
David Del Purgatorio

Age: 51
Family: Married with two children
Hometown: Brooklyn
Education: F.D.R. High School in Brooklyn
Career: Chef

Why do you want to be on the Charter Review Board?
I want to bring change to the county. I want to preserve the ideas that the Republican Party stands for and make sure the liberal ideas in Washington don’t make it here. I’m tired of sitting around and watching. I want to do something.

What would you change, if anything, in the charter?
I don’t see any changes per se on the table.

Should a board member only take suggested charter changes from citizens or should he suggest changes himself?
I believe we should listen to the public. That’s our job. I don’t think I should go by my own ideas.

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