Councilman Matt Schellenberg is introducing emergency legislation to slash the number of people on the Human Rights Commission, and another Councilman is wondering what his intentions are.
"With 20 people, in an hour you get to speak for three minutes. I don't think that sounds like a very efficient operation,” Schellenberg tells our partner Action News.
He wants there to be 11 volunteer members on the commission instead of 20. Under his proposal, it would happen through attrition, meaning no new members will be appointed and no existing members will be reappointed until there are 11.
But Councilman John Crescimbeni wondering why Schellenberg is putting this through as emergency legislation.
"I think it could be easily interpreted as a back-handed way to shut down all those nominations," Crescimbeni tells Action.
Three Human Rights commissioners are up for reappointment next week, including University of North Florida professor Parvez Ahmed. Back in 2010, Ahmed’s appointment stirred up controversy because some people, such as Councilwoman Kimberly Daniels, accused him of terrorist ties. That accusation has never been proved true.
Schellenberg says he can’t change what people are going to say about him. He says his past record includes analyzing multiple city commissions and boards for maximum efficiency, including the Human Rights Commission.
Crescimbeni says he’s planning to ask Schellenberg to start over and introduce his idea as a bill that would go through the normal committee process.
“If it is truly about efficiency, I think that’s a discussion that warrants more than 10-15 minutes at the end of a council meeting,” Crescimbeni says.
The emergency proposal is scheduled to be introduced at the City Council meeting Tuesday night.