Winter Park has a new deputy mayor and two controversial ordinances were repealed after Monday’s City Commission meeting.
In a quick vote with no discussion, Mayor Ken Bradley nominated Commissioner Steven Leary, who was beginning his third meeting on the Commission, as deputy mayor.
The only commissioner to object to the nomination was Carolyn Cooper who, along with Commissioner Tom McMacken, has the second longest tenure on the Commission at just more than one year.
“I’m flattered the mayor asked me,” Leary said. “There are four very qualified people he could have asked, and I’d have supported any one of them. But he asked me, so I’m flattered he thought I could do the job.”
Both of the issues he and Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel had championed during their election campaigns saw success at Monday’s meeting, as both a dog park fee and a Commission salary hike were repealed.
Those ordinances had only been in place for a few months, enacted by the previous Commission.
Resident Mary Randall was one of a few residents who asked the Commission on Monday to keep the fee and vaccination program.
“I think it’s worth more than $80…to be sure that somebody’s going to be making sure the dogs are vaccinated, and the cleanup,” she said. “There’s so much involved. I’m very much in favor of keeping the fee.”
Leary said he was happy with the repeals.
“I think it was pretty clear that in an election where a commissioner such as myself and Commissioner Sprinkel said we would turn them over because they weren’t just, I think that’s as close as we’ve had to a referendum,” Leary said. “The people of Winter Park told us that these are things they just want to get out of the way. We’ve got bigger issues we have to go after.”
Leary said that the ordinances may have been enacted without the majority of the city’s people standing behind them.
“Even the people who I’ve spoken to who were impassioned about these two issues recognized that these were indicative of commissioners who didn’t listen to the people,” he said.
Sprinkel said she wished the dog park fee program had been better thought out.
“It bothers me that the ordinance was written with no discussion of what we would do with the fees if we kept them,” she said.
Leary said he was happy the Commission had put the two issues behind, and was optimistic about the future.
“Now we’ve got the opportunity to move the city forward,” Leary said. “I don’t think where we’ve been should hold us back from where we’re moving the city forward.”