Mayor Morgan McPherson will serve a 2-year term as city leader. But City Commissioners have begun the process to call for a referendum to amend the city charter to extend the term from two to four years. Commissioner Barry Gibson brought the ordinance forward, stating a number of factors to alter the city charter.
1.) The Cost to Run
Every other year $80,000-$120,000 is spent campaigning per candidate. Money, which could be spent elsewhere in the community.
2.) Learning Curve
The argument is, it takes two years to learn how the position and the department’s operate. By the time this is achieved, someone new needs to be trained.
3.) To balance the “Team”
City Commissioners are elected to 4-year terms. The Mayor plays an integral part in leading the team. City Commissioners will now have to adapt to a new leader.
“We are regular, average Joe citizens,” noted Commissioner Gibson, “who have never served in office. You need to learn how the system works. By the time you get the swing of the ropes, it’s time for another election, which sucks a lot of money out of the community, money, which could be used for other contributions.
The referendum was brought before voters in 1996, and all ten precincts voted against it.
The ordinance has to pass another reading before being placed on a referendum this October. But, will not affect the next elected Mayor. The amended city charter, if passed, would then take effect in 2011.
“Don’t forget,” Mayor Morgan McPherson told commissioners Tuesday night, and those in attendance, “The mayor also gets to lead the pledge.”
Mayor Morgan McPherson is pictured at this year’s Jim Malcolm Bicycle Safety Rodeo at Poinciana Elementary School. With him are Commissioner Teri Johnston and Commissioner Barry Gibson. Commissioner Gibson has put an ordinance forward to extend the Key West Mayoral term from two to four years. Photo by Josie Koler