Tampa City Council wants to discuss who speaks for city

11/01/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Last week, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio wrote to members of the Hillsborough state Legislative delegation, informing them that she does not support a City Council proposal to have Tampa given representation on the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission.

The letter upset Councilwoman Mary Mulhern, who had made the proposal earlier this year after the County Commission attempted to dismantle the EPC’s wetlands protection division. Mulhern’s colleagues backed her motion at the time.

At issue is who speaks for the city government? City Attorney David Smith backed the mayor, telling the St. Petersburg Times last Saturday that under the City Charter, Iorio speaks for the city.

That has irked some council members. Today Councilman Thomas Scott called today for the Council to discuss Iorio’s letter next week, as well as the comments made afterward by City Attorney David Smith.

City Councilman Charlie Miranda supported Mulhern’s motion back in August, but said he was concerned about a Bbickering conflict" between the mayor’s office and the Council. And Miranda said that the Council might have been in error in supporting Mulhern’s original motion.

But that was a sidestep from the original thrust of Scott’s call for a meeting. The motion was quickly seconded by Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena. Both Mulhern and John Dingfelder also expressed concern about last week about the mayor’s move.

Scott said the Iorio’s effective veto over the Council’s decision on trying to have Tampa represented on the EPC was setting up a battle over the City Charter.

Hillsborough County Commissioners have expressed support for Mulhern’s proposal, as a means to get more representation on the Tampa Sports Authority and the Planning Commission. Mayor Iorio opposed that a year ago, and the Hillsborough Legislative delegation refused to its support.

Councilwoman Mulhern says her plan stands by itself.

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