Suwannee Democrat


February 27, 2014

Elected chief position passes first reading (+ Video)

Council/city manager form of government ordinance passes first reading, also.

Live Oak —

Live Oak City Hall council chambers was packed Tuesday night for a special called meeting of the first reading of an ordinance that could place the police chief position on a ballot to allow voters to decide if the position should be elected.

The first reading passed 3-2 with Councilors Keith Mixon and Jacob Grantham voting against, but not before some had their say, including the Live Oak Police Department. 

The LOPD squad and all employees, with the exception of the police chief, signed a letter urging councilors to reconsider the measure. The letter was read Tuesday night by LOPD Sgt. Justin Bates, who received a round of applause at conclusion. 

The council also voted 3-2 on Ordinance 1354 which could place on the ballot allowing voters to decide on a council/city manager form of government. Councilors John Yulee and Bennie Thomas voted against.

City Attorney Erny Sellers told the board he prepared the ordinances so the matters of the police chief position and city council/manager form of government could be voted on together or passed as separate ordinances.

Mixon then made a motion to accept the ordinances as separate documents so the matters could be addressed individually. The motion passed 4-1, with Council President Adam Prins voting against. 

If both measures pass the second reading at the council’s regular monthly meeting on March 11, the items could then be placed on the May 6 ballot. However, Mayor Sonny Nobles has the option to veto one or both measures, or sign them, making them official. If Nobles vetoes either, he has to state his reasons to the council and has 30 days from the passing of the second reading to respond. The council then, if they so choose, have to override him with a 4-1 vote. If they fail to override a veto, the measure or measures would die. If the council secures a 4-1 vote to override the mayor and the 30 days have been exhausted, the timeline to make it on the May ballot would have passed, requiring a special election.

If Nobles signs the measures, City Clerk John Gill would send them to Supervisor of Elections Glenda Williams’ office to be placed on the May 6 ballot. 

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