Metropolitan County
Orlando
Damion Chung
POS2112
Professor Foreman
15 April 2005

Chung1
The metropolitan county Orlando/Orange county is mostly famous for the tourist
attraction of Walt Disney, but it has political issues that only the people who are
interested would know about. Members of the Orlando City Council are the Mayor-
Commissioner, elected at-large, (candidates are chosen by all of the vote in the
community, and elected for four year term) and six City Commissioners who are elected
from respective districts. All are elected for four-year terms. Special meetings may be
held at the call of the mayor, there are 6 district commissioners. District Commissioner 1-
5 respectively is Phil Diamond, Betty T. Wyman, Vicki Vargo, Patty Sheehan, Daisy W.
Lynum. Ernest Page who is the mayor and also the District 6 Commissioner he was
elected Commissioner in 1996, re-elected in 2000 and 2004. Became mayor in March 11,
2005 in mayor Buddy Dyer’s absence.


Ernest Page’s work experience includes, Ernest Page Realty, Valencia Community
College, (adjunct instructor, real estate), CNA Insurance Company; (division manager),
Customer Service, accounting collections, security, record administration,
telecommunications, purchasing, fleet administrator, Xerox Corporation, (marketing and
sales), Martin Marietta Corporation; property management, buyer, employment specialist,
Orange County School Board, (classroom teacher). Page’s stated that, “On March 11,
2005, I assumed the role of Mayor of Orlando and I am honored to serve this great City
in this capacity. As I begin my service as Mayor, I will work daily with senior staff and
the Cabinet to ensure we will maintain the excellent level of service that our citizens have
come to expect and deserve. Please be assured that the City will operate with the same
consistency and efficiency as we have in the past”
Chung 2
Requirements for Qualification as Candidate for Office of Mayor-Commissioner or
City Commissioner. Each candidate for the Office of Mayor-Commissioner or District
Commissioner of the City of Orlando shall have been, at the time of qualifying as a
candidate for such office, both a bona fide resident of the City of Orlando and a
registered elector of the City of Orlando for at least one year prior to the date of
qualifying to run for City office.


Each candidate for a City of Orlando district Commissioner seat shall have been, at
the time of qualifying, both a bona fide resident and registered elector of that district of
the City of Orlando for at least one year prior to qualifying. Provided, however, in the
election following the decennial redistricting required by section 4-1 of this Chapter,
district commissioner candidates shall only have to meet the requirements of subsection
above. For qualifying purposes, residents of areas that are annexed into the corporate
limits of the City of Orlando within one year prior to the election qualifying period shall
be considered residents of the district to which their area has been annexed and shall be
eligible to be a candidate for Mayor-Commissioner or City district commissioner if they
have been a bona fide resident and registered elector of either the City or the annexed
area for one year prior to the date of qualifying
At the time of qualifying, candidates shall be required to submit proof satisfactory to
the City Clerk that they have met the requirements of this section. If satisfactory proof is
not submitted prior to the end of the qualifying period, the City Clerk shall not qualify
that person for the office sought and their name shall not appear on the ballot.
Satisfactory proof of having met the residency requirements of this section shall include
Chung 3
submission all of the following applicable items for the one-year period prior to
qualifying: homestead exemption documentation, residential property lease, utility bills
which reflect usage of utilities at a level indicating actual residence, and Florida driver’s
license registration. Candidates may also submit to the City Clerk any other
documentation that shows their intention to be a bona fide resident at their qualifying
address. Candidates must also submit documentation that they have been a registered
elector as required by this section for the one-year period prior to qualifying. As a
condition of qualifying, all candidates must sign a release authorizing the City Clerk to
verify the information that they have submitted.


On March 11, 2005, Mayor Dyer was served with a Grand Jury indictment charging
him with a felony violation of the state elections law, Pursuant to his authority under the
Florida Constitution, Article IV, Section 7 (C) and the provisions of Section 112.51,
Florida Statutes (2004), Governor Bush suspended Mayor Dyer from office. Under state
law, this suspension will continue until such time as the criminal charges resulting from
the indictment are resolved. Should these charges by resolved favorably, then the
suspension shall be revoked “forthwith” by the Governor. Should these criminal charges
be adversely, the Governor is required to remove the Mayor from office. By operation of
state law, the City Charter procedure for filling permanent vacancies must be utilized to
fill the temporary vacancy during the term of Mayor Dyer’s suspension. Therefore, City
Council must meet within ten days of March 11, 2005, to set an election date within
forty-five days that meeting.


Whoever is elected in this special election will serve as Mayor during “the period of
Chung 4
the suspension, not to extend beyond the term.” Article IV, Section 7 (C), Florida
Constitution. At the point the criminal charges are resolved, Mayor Dyer will either be
restrained or removed , in which event permanent vacancy in the office will result and
need to be filled in accordance with the City Charter provision found in Chapter 2,
Section 1. If the remaining term exceeds one year, City Council will again call a special
election under the provisions previously discussed. If the remaining term is less than one
year , the remaining members of City Council shall, within forty days of the vacancy,
elect by majority vote a person to fill in vacancy.


This resolution by the City Council of the City of Orlando, Florida , authorizes a
Special Municipal election to be held on Tuesday, May 3, 2005, with a Run-Off
Municipal Election to be held if necessary, on May 24,2005, for an interim Mayor to
serve during the period of Mayor’s Dyer’s suspension. It also authorizes a Special
Election on the same dates to fill any vacancy created by any City Council Member who
resigns their seat in order to run for Interim Mayor.


Council is also asked to authorize the City Clerk to execute a Contact for the use of
Vote Processing Equipment and other special election requirements with the Orange
County Supervisor of Elections after review and approval by City’s Office of Legal
Affairs. Due to the suspension from office of Mayor Dyer, under the Laws of the State of
Florida and the Charter of the City of Orlando, Florida, it is necessary to hold a Special
Election to elect an Interim Mayor for the term of Mayor Dyer’s suspension (but not to
exceed the length of his term which ends May 31, 2008); In the event any current City
Commissioner(s) decide to resign in order to run for Interim Mayor, it will be necessary
Chung 5
to hold a special election to fill their seat(s)for the balance of their term(s);
When Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was indicted last month, he was in the middle of a
budget crisis and projects ranging from redeveloping the city’s poorest neighborhood to
overseeing a building boom downtown. The five mayoral candidates competing to
replace Dyer will have to jump into the middle of what the mayor left behind. How they
deal with looming deficits, the economy and downtown’s development will help define
Orlando’s future.


On May 3, voters will choose a temporary replacement for Dyer, who is suspended
until an allegation of an election-law violation is resolved. It remains unclear how long
his replacement will serve. If Dyer is acquitted, he could retake the mayor’s post, but if
he’s convicted, voters will have to approve a permanent replacement in another election.
Orlando’s leadership crisis comes at a crucial time for the city. Economic and budget
issues are at the forefront.


City finance workers predict at least a $27 million deficit for next budget year. That’s
higher than the $23 million deficit Dyer inherited in 2003 when he replaced Glenda
Hood, who became Florida secretary of state. City staffers originally predicted a $27
million deficit this year as well but say they may avert the problem by slashing spending
and not filling some jobs. The cause of the deficit is partly because of higher salaries and
rising health-care costs, including retiree health benefits. Since the early 1970s, city
employees who work at least 20 years receive free medical care for life. None of the
candidates suggested that it’s time to raise taxes after 14 years without rate increases — at
least not yet — but they have different ideas about what should be done.


Candidate Bill Frederick, Orlando’s mayor from 1980 to 1992, wants to examine the
Chung 6
Orlando Utilities Commission’s finances with an eye toward a bigger annual dividend
payment to the city. Last year, the city received about $32.7 million in dividends from
OUC and about $19.7 million in franchise fees. Dyer created controversy by hiring
consultants to quietly study the possibility of the city taking over OUC’s water utility and
selling it for $322 million. The idea of selling part of OUC appears dead, and OUC is
completing the study. If the city’s expenses continue to outstrip revenues for several
years, then city leaders will have to cut services or raise taxes, Frederick said. But
Frederick added that he won’t raise taxes in the coming year. Candidates Billy Manes,
Ken Mulvaney and Sam Ings had no immediate financial solutions but said an audit
should be conducted of the city’s $600 million budget to look for waste.


Candidate Edward Lopes wants to impose a 99-cent “impact fee” on every plane ticket
sold at Orlando International Airport. But Carolyn Fennell, a spokeswoman for the
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said a 1973 federal law forbids that kind of tax.
Lopes said he hasn’t researched it, but he wasn’t convinced that it couldn’t be done.


Creating a stable and diversified economy is a priority for our City as we move into t
he 21st century. The City is using the economic prosperity brought about by the region’s
enormous tourism industry to attract new targeted industries that will provide a better
balance to our economy. This will allow our community to achieve economic prosperity
while preserving a high quality of life.
To accomplish Orlando’s goal of economic prosperity, the City will focus on the
following areas:
Chung 7
I. Promoting the City’s targeted growth industries;
II. Nurturing and cultivating small business development;
III. Engaging in innovative programs that educate the workforce;
IV. Supporting neighborhood economic development; and
V. Encouraging infill and redevelopment within the Traditional City.




Reference
1. Allard, Edward
current resident of Orlando (3 years)
2002-present
2. City Council. City of Orlando.net
7 April 2005
http://www.cityoforlando.net/elected/index.htm
3. Orlando Sentinel
7 April 2005
4. Orlando, The City’s Magazine
April 2005
Orlando Business Journal Magazine
March 2005
5. Orlando: City of Dreams (Making of America)
by Joy Wallace Dickinson.