I would like to ask the Council and the Charter Commission to look into changing our form of governing to a 'strong' Mayor and Council form.
The strong Mayor would have a large degree of control and responsibility. The Mayor would be elected by the islanders for a four-year term. The Council for no more than two three-year terms, as it is today. I think the islanders need to have a say as to who will be Mayor. The Mayor would have the power as a strong Mayor and have a Town Manager/Administrator and Council to work with.
What we have now, is that the Mayor is selected by the Council. The person with the most friends on the Council becomes Mayor and really has very little power. You can see that as the last Mayor, who, I think did a great job and worked many hours and traveled all over for the islanders benefit, is now back to a Councilman. We have lost all of the relationships he started, and the Town must start again building new relationships with a new Mayor.
We would have much better results with the County and State, with long-term relationships with someone they know and trust.
I have no problem with our present Mayor, and I am sure she will do a great job. It is time that our islanders get to elect the person they think would be the best leader and not who the Council members like best.
We should have this on the ballot as a referendum to get what our islanders think is best.
--Bob Raymond is a former Council member and Mayor of Fort Myers Beach.