By County Commissioner Bryan Nelson
The Orange County Charter Review Commission (CRC) is responsible for studying the Orange County charter and making recommendations on changes or amendments to the document. The charter is essentially the County’s constitution and it lays out the framework and government structure for the county. The commission is composed of 15 Orange County citizens who are elected by the Board of County Commissioners. For this year’s CRC two citizens were appointed for each of the six districts, and three for the mayor. I was honored to have appointed Fred Brummer and Doug Gondera for this year’s commission. The CRC is granted the authority to propose amendments to the charter which are then placed on the general election ballot for citizens to vote on.
The CRC, originally named the Orange County Citizens Charter Government Study Committee, was created in April of 1986. In August of 1987 the commission underwent a name change to its current name. Since then, the commission has introduced amendments to the charter every four years. The CRC publishes a report at least 60 days before elections for voters to decide which changes they wish to follow through on. The commission must hold at least four public meetings during the reviewing process where elected officials, county staff, and the public can make recommendations for the charter.
For this year’s election, the CRC met from February 12, 2015 through June 21, 2016. During this time there were a total of 84 meetings held, including 13 regular monthly CRC meetings, 65 work group meetings, and six meetings with the public. The public meetings were held at several locations throughout the county including one in each of the six district districts located in Orange County.
This year, the CRC chose three amendments to the charter. The amendments were presented as questions on this year’s ballot. All three amendments passed with over 65% of the vote.
The first amendment introduces additional requirements for the petition process for changes to the charter.
The second amendment changes all six county constitutional officers (Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and Comptroller) into nonpartisan officers, or in other words officers with no political party affiliation. Additionally, it introduces term limits while also making the officers subject to the authority of the Board of County Commissioners and the County Mayor.
Amendment three to the ballot further preserves amendment two by overruling any court action against it.
Amendment one passed with 66.7% of the vote, amendment two passes with 69.2% of the vote, and the third amendment passed with 70.5% of the vote.
If you would like more information regard the Orange County Review Commission you can visit the “Open Government” page on www.ocfl.net.
There you will find information on the history of all amendments to charter in 1986 along with the 2016 CRC report on this year’s charter amendments.
Meeting minutes for all of the meetings held by the CRC during this years session can also be on the Comptroller’s website at www.occompt.com.
If you have any additional questions regarding the CRC you can reach my office via email at District2@ocf.net .
Bryan Nelson sits on the Orange County Board of Commissioners and Represents District 7 which includes Apopka and Northwest Orange County.