Sarasota News Leader

11/09/2012

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BOND PICKLE WORSENS Three proposed City of Sarasota Charter amendments failed this week at the polls. Photo by Norman Schimmel THREE CITY CHARTER AMENDMENTS FLUNK VOTERS' TEST By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Sarasota City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadali- ni hoped voters would eliminate problems caused by her inability to obtain a surety bond as required by the city charter. On Nov. 6 vot- ers faced a so-called "housekeeping amend- ment" to the city charter. It contained 17 dif- ferent items, one of which was tailor-made to cure Nadalini's no-bond problem. The charter change proposal would allow in- surance to take the place of a bond. Bonds, of course, are different from insurance. How- ever, under a legal fiction dubbed "functional equivalence" — created by City Attorney Bob Fournier — the city commissioners would have had a fig leaf to hide behind when ques- tioned about why their auditor and clerk did not have a bond to protect the city as required by the charter. The fig leaf option is no longer. By the greatest margin of any amendment vote on Nov. 6, city citizens rejected the "housekeeping" propos- al, with 62 percent voting against it. Because the proposal contained Nadalini's "bond fix," it will be very hard for the city attorney to wield "functional equivalence." The same voters — by a 45 percent to 55 per- cent margin — also rejected a plan to split Nadalini's office. Only the auditor's position would have remained a charter position. All other functions of the office would have trans- ferred to the city manager's purview.

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