Destin to review charter language about removing a council member or mayor
DESTIN — The City Council on Monday approved Councilman Steve Menchel’s request for a legal review of a part of the city’s charter that relates to removing a council member or mayor from office.
During the meeting, Menchel said he had talked with City Attorney Kyle Bauman and city Land Use Attorney Kimberly Kopp in March to discuss his concerns about “gaps” in the charter.
The charter speaks to infractions that “any one of us (elected Destin official) could be removed for” but doesn’t provide for how any of them could be removed, Menchel said.
Menchel did not say whether a Destin official might have violated the charter. Neither the mayor, who does not have general voting power, nor the other council members asked Menchel who he might have been referring to.
Bauman said he and Kopp would research the charter language Menchel is concerned about and “bring back options” to rectify it at a future meeting.
According to Monday’s meeting agenda, Menchel specifically wants Bauman and Kopp “to conduct the necessary legal review of the City of Destin Code of Ordinances - Part 1 (Charter) Section 3.09 to identify the language needed and process required to remove a City Council member or mayor from office for violations identified in Section 3.09.”
Section 3.09 applies to vacancies, forfeiture of office and filling of vacancies.
According to this section, the mayor or a council member shall forfeit office if he or she: At any time during the term of office lacks any qualification for the office prescribed by the charter or by law, or violates any standard of conduct or code of ethics established by law for public officials, or is absent from three consecutive regular council meetings without being excused by the council.
In other business Monday, the council discussed the results of recently completed self-audits by city department heads of their continuing service contracts.
During the internal audits, 248 errors were discovered and vendors were found to have been overpaid by a total of more than $26,000.
In January, the council agreed with a request by Menchel for the department directors to conduct the audits after he expressed concern about billing irregularities and other mistakes.
At Monday’s meeting, city Finance Director Krystal Strickland, who started her job in late April, said the audits started well before she began working for the city.
In a report to the council, she noted that the city’s financial accounting software was significantly upgraded last October. Strickland also reported that various “recommended internal controls will become the operational norm as soon as all staff is trained how to more fully utilize certain features of the purchasing and payables modules.”