Tampa voters approve 18 charter amendments, the first since 1975

Tampa voters approved all 18 charter amendments on their ballots Tuesday.
The city’s charter had not been changed since 1975. The charter amendments were proposed by a Charter Review Commission and sent to the ballot by a vote of the city council. A number of the charter amendments proposed technical changes or changes that brought the charter in line with current practices and state laws. Others concerned the power of the mayor and city council, city investments, anti-discrimination provisions, and residency requirements for city department heads. Two measures would affect how often voters consider changes to the charter at the ballot.
Approval rates were at 59 percent or above for all but two proposed charter amendments. Amendment 10 and Amendment 12 were approved by 53.5 percent and 52 percent, respectively. Below are some highlighted amendments:
  • Amendment 3 allows city council members to hire aides without approval from the mayor and to hire additional staff with approval from five city council members rather than the mayor.
  • Amendment 8 allows the mayor to establish or abolish certain boards and departments with two-thirds approval from the city council and Amendment 9 states that the duties of city officials and city employees are under the authority of the mayor rather than the city council.
  • Amendment 10, one of the two charter amendments approved by a margin of less than 5 percentage points, authorizes the city council—by a vote of at least five members—to waive the residency requirements for city department heads for one year and renew that one-year waiver no more than twice.
  • Amendment 13 allows the city more flexibility in investing city funds, as long as nothing is invested in mortgage-backed securities and investments are in line with state statute.
  • Amendment 16 prohibits discrimination by the city and city officials and employees based on sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, marital status, familial status, disability, gender identification, genetic information, ethnicity, and any others prohibited by law, and to provide anti-discrimination training for all city employees. The charter already prohibited discrimination by the city and city officials and employees based on race, sex, religion, and national origin.
  • Amendment 17 establishes a charter review commission to consider and propose changes to the charter every 10 years beginning in 2027.
  • Amendment 18 establishes in the city charter a process for proposing charter amendments through initiative petition consistent with the state-mandated process but with the same details as the city’s current initiative process for ordinances.