TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A power struggle between Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and some members of city council laid bare a growing rift in city government.
On Wednesday, Castor used her power of veto to override changes to the city charter that had been approved by the council.
On Thursday, council members voted to override Castor’s veto on four of the five proposed changes to the charter.
One of the changes involves the hiring and approval of department heads.
The issue came up recently when Castor hired Mary O’Connor as the city’s police chief, over the objections of some council members.
The proposed change to the charter would limit the mayor’s ability to appoint an interim department head from outside o the city without approval by council.
“The mayor can not appoint a department head without city council approval. We’re not changing that, we’re not adding that, that’s already been true for a long time,” said city council member Bill Carlson.
Castor was out of town on Thursday, but her chief of staff says the mayor feels the changes to the charter go too far.
“It is about the process, this is changing the form of government by essentially council appointing a department head or administrator to then report to the Mayor after the fact,” said Chief of Staff John Bennett.
Council members also overturned a veto on a change to the city charter that would provide greater term limits for city council members.
Speaking at the meeting, members of the public told council members they want a chance to vote on the changes.
“Let the people vote on this issue, let the people vote on all of these issues,” said James Michael Shaw.
As a result of the council action on Thursday, voters will now have a chance to decide on four changes to the city charter in the next election.