Pensacola City Charter Referendum, 2009

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A Pensacola City Charter Referendum was on the November 24, 2009 ballot in Escambia County for City of Pensacola voters. The referendum asked for voters to accept or reject a revised version of the proposed city charter. The proposed city charter called for overhauling the city's government structure. Since the charter was approved, it marks the first time the charter has been changed since 1931.[1]

On September 2, 2009 a city council committee voted unanimously to place the measure on the ballot. Final approval for the measure, however, is up to the city council. They will vote on September 10. Following the September decision, the council will vote again on the actual ballot language.[2]


This measure passed.

  • YES 7,762 (55.17%)Approveda
  • NO 6,308 (44.83%)[3]

This was a mail in election only and in that regard voter turn out was low with about only 37.3 percent of city voters sending in their ballots. Since the new charter has been approved, the city now has to go through a tough time or rearranging the government structure and finding a person to take the leadership roll that has now been created through this new charter. The new charter also extend the terms of the mayor and council members and also make it easier for residents to initiate a referendum vote, lowering the signature requirement from 15 to 10 percent of city voters.[4]

Revised city charter

The new proposed charter is a total of 24 pages long. Some of the proposed revisions to the city charter, which voters will approve or reject in December, include:[1]

  • The mayor would no longer be a member of the council and would not have a vote. However, the mayor would still preside over meetings.
  • The mayor and council's compensation would be set by city ordinance and is subject to change each year.
  • Petitions for bringing forward an initiative would require 10% of voters from the most recent general election, instead of the current 15%.
  • Residents would have the ability to place initiatives on the ballot and could therefore propose ordinances to the council.
  • If the mayor's seat becomes vacant, the president of the council will serve as acting mayor for a maximum of 30 days. The new mayor would be appointed by the council, however, if the remaining term is more than 28 months an election will take place.
  • The city attorney, chief administrative officer and city clerk would no longer be required to live within the city limits. The mayor has the authority to require Pensacola residency.
  • The city attorney would be appointed by the mayor and require approval by the majority of the council.
  • Department consolidation would be determined by the mayor.