Although Bob Buckhorn isn’t on the ballot today directly, a challenge to his authority as Tampa’s mayor definitely is.
In addition to voting for various offices and constitutional amendments, City of Tampa residents are voting on whether the City Council should be given authority to order internal audits.
Buckhorn says it would allow for “meddling” by the City Council and add an extra layer of bureaucracy to City Hall.
“There’s no accountability there. It’s totally unnecessary,” he told reporters who gathered outside his polling station at the Marjorie Park Marina on Davis Island. “Our form of government is the envy of most cities around the country. You have a mayor who’s in charge. That mayor’s accountable to the people. You don’t need a City Council that has audit authority but no ability, but no authority to implement recommendations of the audit.”
“You wonder why they even passed it. Is it political payback? Are they going after department heads? I just don’t think it’s necessary and I think our charter has stood the test of time for 40 years. And I strongly urge people to vote no on that city charter.”
The City Council voted unanimously to put the measure on the ballot earlier this year, annoyed that Buckhorn has not released audit reports until all the reforms that he’s ordered in response to them are completed. The mayor has said keeping draft audits on his desk enables him to ensure the reforms he’s ordered actually occur, but the council says when they are ultimately published, they’re already out of date.
Buckhorn has gone all out this election cycle to make sure Hillary Clinton wins Hillsborough County, considered one of the most significant bellwether counties in the nation when it comes to the presidential vote. He said he hopes that, if she’s elected, the GOP-led House of Representatives will show more willingness tow rock with her than they were with Barack Obama. “We can’t afford that,” he said. “We don’t have the time for it. We don’t have the luxury for that. America deserves better.”