Commission to review county charter

By Debra W. Buehn
Posted 11/2/17

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County’s 2017-18 Charter Review Commission will be led by a woman who has done everything from owing her own businesses, serving on White House Commissions to competing …

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Commission to review county charter

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County’s 2017-18 Charter Review Commission will be led by a woman who has done everything from owing her own businesses, serving on White House Commissions to competing in “Dancing with the Stars.”

Amy Pope-Wells was elected chairman at the first meeting of the recently-appointed Charter Review Commission. The meeting, held Oct. 26, kicked off the CRC’s mission to review the county charter. Charles R. “Scotty” Taylor Jr. was selected as vice chairman.

The Commission meets every four years to look at the county’s charter and determine if there are issues that need to be revised or amended. Fifteen members of the community, nominated by the Board of County Commissioners, sit on the Commission. Five alternates also are nominated.

Clay County is one of 20 of the 67 counties in the state that are charter counties. Clay County’s decision to become a charter county became effective Jan. 1, 1991.

Basically, Pope-Wells said, being a charter county gives the county more control over their government, which she said she believes is important.

“It gives more voice to the people,” she said.

Pope-Wells has a long history of community service, as well as a variety of business and entrepreneurial endeavors. She owns Link Staffing Services, which focuses on human resources solutions. She also heads up Tire Diva, which she has described as “selling tires to the federal government in large volume.” She is also serving on an advisory board on White House Commissions for the Small Business Association, Workforce Development and Women’s Advancement.

But her latest endeavor may bring her the most attention of all. On Nov. 4, she will be a competitor in “Dancing with the Stars.” Her professional partner will be Larry Audije.

The competition will be among several couples from the Northeast Florida area and will take place at 8 p.m. at Lazzara Hall at the University of North Florida. The winners will go on to national competition. All proceeds from her participation will go to the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus.

For Pope-Wells, all of her experiences lead her to believe she has many different ways to find out what people are thinking and feeling, which works well for serving on the charter commission.

“I get to view the world from a lot of lenses,” she said.

Her main mission on the commission will be to make sure as many people as possible are listened to.

“My goal is to provide a very wide voice,” she said.

Pope-Wells will be backed up in her new position by Taylor, who is a fifth generation Clay County resident and former vice chairman of the inaugural Clay County Charter Commission.

The Oct. 26 meeting was essentially an organizational meeting, with Courtney K. Grimm, county attorney, instructing the group on its mission.

“You are to review the home rule charter and propose any amendments or revisions which may be advisable for placement on the (November 2018) general election ballot,” she said.

Grimm advised commission members that they basically had to work backwards to meet their timeline, which means they need to have any amendments or revisions ready to go by the end of May so public hearings and presentations to the Board of County Commissioners could take place.

The CRC will meet again at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in the BCC chambers on the fourth floor of the county Administrative Building at 477 Houston St. The public is invited to all meetings. Members of the CRC were asked to review the charter, reach out to their fellow residents and come back with a list of about five items they think should be looked at.

Those on the CRC were nominated through their district County Commission representative.

In District One, represented by County Commissioner Mike Cella, those named to the Commission include Pope-Wells, Kim Knapp, David Cheers and alternate Paul Sarto.

In District Two, represented by County Commission Chairman Wayne Bolla, Commission members named are Tamara Brandt, Tom Branham and Bob Tatum. Tatum was the alternate but original member Chris Rodatz was unable to serve.

In District Three, represented by BCC Vice Chairman Diane Hutchings, Amy Miller, Art Hooker, Laurel New and alternate Glo Smith are those named to the Commission.

In District Four, represented by County Commissioner Gavin Rollins, those named are Taylor, Eric Jaffe, Charles Cook and alternate Charlie Thompson.

In District Five, represented by County Commissioner Gayward Hendry, those serving are Larry Kirkman, Ronnie Coleman, Ronald Stotler and alternate Richard Klinzman.

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