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Announcement of 2016 Orange County Charter Review Commission

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Orange County gov. logo, orangecountyfl.net

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Just like in every low-budget horror movie involving lobbyists walking into the summer-camp woods, it wasn’t exactly unexpected that the announcement of the 2016 Orange County Charter Review Commission would be full of screams and eye-rolls. The Orange County Board of County Commissioners, a very sweet gaggle of mostly conservative bureaucrats, had already been chiseling away at the Orange County Charter for the better part of last year. As both the Weekly and Sentinel reported extensively, the county commission was already in trouble with State Attorney Jeff Ashton after an investigation found members guilty of destroying public records during so-called textgate.

While some of the picks listed in the Jan. 22 announcement don’t really cock a quizzical brow, others directly echo the textgate controversy that came on the heels of a citizen-led earned sick time campaign in 2012. Namely, Mayor Teresa Jacobs seems to have forgotten the texted conversations all together, naming Disney attorney and lobbyist Kevin Shaughnessy to the board, along with other textgate cronies. The rest of the list, for the most part, reads like a Doomsday letter for county transparency, especially when you get to the part that includes former Orange County Commissioner Fred Brummer. Though he may have been termed out of office last year, he didn’t go down without first attempting to alter the charter in ways that would address personal vendettas, especially against tax collector Scott Randolph.

Whatever the reasoning behind the picks for this cheerleading squad, one thing is clear. The more things don’t change, the more they stay the same.

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