In 2015, Frank Reddick emerged in a much-anticipated vote as the surprise new chairman of Tampa City Council, which had gone to Charlie Miranda the previous four years.
Reddick now says he’d like another another year with the gig.
“I was given an opportunity to serve and I think I was able to do a pretty decent job in organizing and keeping the council on track to move forward and getting the agenda done in a timely matter, and I think everything seems to be comfortable and going well, and I just figured that I would like to serve one more term,” Reddick told SPB Friday afternoon.
That news is surprising some City Hall observers, who note that the East Tampa representative made an issue last year about the council rotating the chairmanship on an annual basis. Before that vote, Reddick said he didn’t want the job for more than a year. “I’m not fascinated by serving in one capacity for the next four years,” he said a year ago. “If someone else wants to run for chair? Fine with me. I’m not selfish in that respect.”
“What happened is that I brought the issue up for rotating the chair and it was defeated,” he says about the vote that came after he was voted in to be the new chairman. “So it would be kind of odd if anyone used that as a defense against me … when they voted it down,” he said.
Reddick takes a somewhat self-deprecating look at this week’s vote.
“Just because I’ve indicated interest in being chair doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll be re-elected,” he says. “Anyone can be nominated, so if they get the four votes, they can be nominated chair. I just have made it known that I don’t have a problem serving as a chair again,” he says, adding that he doesn’t intend on nominating himself. “So if nobody nominates me, my chances of being chair are null and void.”
Like a year ago, the interest in who leads the Council is weighted with implications beyond this year. Rumors continue to circulate that Bob Buckhorn may not finish all four years of his mayoral term (either because of the possibility of moving on to a job in a potential Hillary Clinton administration or for a run for office in 2018).
Most observers would probably note that Reddick has done a good-enough job (which comes with no extra pay) as chairman, though things became a little surreal last summer during conflict between the Council and mayor over a new citizens review board for the police. The Buckhorn administration dug in on the question of who had the power to name members to the board, leading to a major battle between Reddick and City Attorney Julia Mandell. A fiery confrontation between the two at one council meeting concluded with Reddick muttering, “I’m not going to be a butt-kisser to no one.”
But that was then. Reddick says he and the mayor get along fine, and that he’s approved “roughly 95 percent” of the proposals that the administration has brought before the council in the five years both have served Tampa. He does say he believes that Buckhorn “intruded into the discussion when there was no need for him to do so.”
“The issue should have never gotten to the point that it did because I asked the chief of the police one question: Are you in favor of having a citizens review board? And the chief, instead of saying yes or no, comes back with some type of policy about how it’s supposed to be established,” he says.
“It got heated at times, ” he recounts, “because I was doing what I thought was right and he was doing what he thought was right, but you know you have those differences. I move on, I don’t lose much sleep about it.”
Activists who lobbied hardest for the citizens review board weren’t happy with the final product. That newly constituted board has met twice this year, but there is now a campaign to get a measure on the ballot this fall that calls for a new Charter amendment to give a new citizens review board more power. Reddick supports that effort.
The Council will vote on a chairman Thursday morning at City Hall. The meeting begins 9 a.m.