One of the threads in the fabric of the Great Alachua Conspriacy Theory (a.k.a. Da Alachua Code) is that the city is in violation of the state constitution because the city manager holds more than one title. In fact, this has been the basis of one of Charlie Grapski's recent attacks. On his own blog, he had this to say about it.
"For those who are wondering about "dual office holding" - as in the case of Clovis Watson (occupying the following FOUR offices: City Manager, City Clerk, City Police Commissioner and Sworn Officer) - in which holding of both the City Manager and the Police Commissioner positions, simultaneously, are CLEARLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL - see the Florida Constitution:"
"SECTION 5. Public officers.-- (a) No person holding any office of emolument under any foreign government, or civil office of emolument under the United States or any other state, shall hold any office of honor or of emolument under the government of this state. No person shall hold at the same time more than one office under the government of the state and the counties and municipalities therein, except that a notary public or military officer may hold another office, and any officer may be a member of a constitution revision commission, taxation and budget reform commission, constitutional convention, or statutory body having only advisory powers. "
"Clovis Watson clearly holds his positions IN VIOLATION OF FLORIDA'S CONSTITUTION. (See the recent decision of the City of Castelberry to make their Police Chief the INTERIM City Commissioner. They had to reverse that decision - on the basis that it is unconstitutional to hold both positions)."
Grapski's goof is that in his example, both positions referenced are constitutional positions.
In the City of Alachua, however, the City Manager is designated in the charter as the City Clerk. so that isn't an issue. Grapski's real complaint, however, is with the dual role of City Manager / Police Commissioner. This was also addressed in the dismissed suit filed against the city by the ALA.
The current city manager holds only one constitional position and gets paid only one salary for that position. That position is City Manager. In fact, Police Commissioner is not a constitutional position. It was a title made up by the city commission, at the time of Watson's hiring to allow him to keep the retirement benefits that he had accrued over the 20 years that he was a police officer. In fact, the motion to accept the contract was made by a commissioner that is affiliated of the ALA and seconded by another commissioner, also affiliated with the ALA.
An August, 2002 Alachua Post article reported:
"At the August 19, 2002 Alachua City Commission meeting, Manager Clovis Watson, Jr. received a unanimous vote of approval for a contract with the City of Alachua, securing a 5 year agreement. In the negotiated contract Watson will receive an annual salary of $80,000, moving expenses not to exceed $5,000, a one year severance clause was included and he will have language inserted into the contract that will allow him to retain retirement benefits accumulated over the past twenty years as a police officer. A provision was also included in the contract to compensate Watson for accrued sick leave and vacation at either the end or the termination of the contract. Commissioner Robbins asked to have language in the contract changed to connect salary increases to a job performance evaluation. . .The motion to accept the contract was made by Commissioner Robbins with a second by Commissioner Dianna Kosman-Rothseiden. The vote was 5/0 to approve the contract. "
Interesting that ALA affiliated commissioners approved the contract, but after they were voted out of office by the citizens of Alachua, the ALA sued over this. That suit was dismissed with prejudice.
In a future post, we will make the judge's complete ruling, dismissing the ALA lawsuit available.
Posted by SJ