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Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 11 Council member may not interfere with the Mayor's executive authority under this Charter including the appointment or removal of an administrative officer or employee or with the performance of an officer's or employee's administrative duties. The Council or a member may direct a recommendation or criticism concerning the administration of the city only to the Mayor." The new charter would also shift the city's election dates to the state and national election cycle of August primaries and November general elections by the year 2020. Currently, the city conducts its primary in March and its general election in May. Further, under the proposed charter, the city would revert to state campaign finance rules. One former city commissioner who campaigned against the strong-mayor referendums in the past told The Sarasota News Leader, "This is the strongest mayor yet." THE PERSONALITIES Martineau is not alone in the quest for a new city charter. He is backed by a number of individuals who have supported prior efforts to create an executive mayor with broad powers. Several sources indicate County Commissioner Joe Barbetta, City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo, neighborhood leader Linda Holland and Sunshine Law litigant Michael Barfield are involved. Barfield said he did not support prior attempts to create an elected executive mayor. "But now I think there's a need for it," he told the News Leader. "The city is in a state of paralysis with a lack of leadership." Shannon Snyder was elected mayor by his fellow city commissioners in May 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel He confirmed that two meetings have been held at The HuB building on Fruitville Road, one on Jan. 7 and another on Jan. 13. Barfield says he is withholding judgment until he sees the final version of the proposed charter. "The draft I saw had the city auditor and clerk appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the [city] council," he said. "One of my concerns is making sure the auditor and clerk retains independence for auditing purposes and access to public records." In order to appear on the ballot, any proposal must be approved as an ordinance by the City Commission and set for election, or 10 percent of the registered voters of the city must sign a petition within a 180-day period to support the measure. With 32,937 registered voters in the City of Sarasota, that means about 3,300 of their signatures would be required on a petition to put the revised city charter proposal up for referendum. %

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