Mayor stands firm on review board plans

- It's supposed to improve relations within the city of Tampa, but the proposed Citizens Review Board for the police department is causing quite a rift between the mayor and some city councilmembers.

"We asked for a board to be put together by us, for us," said Ali Muhammed of the New Black Panther Party.

Some, like Muhammed, say the composition of the mayor's new Citizens Review Board shouldn't be up to him.

"We are the ones having problems with the police department, Mayor Bob Buckhorn isn't staying in East Tampa," Muhammed said Thursday.

The mayor, who would appoint eight of the 11 board members, is standing firm and offered some tough words for his critics.

"It's going to be appointees that are serious people, not folks with an anti-police agenda. I'm not going permit a board of appointees from the Black Panther Party, or any of these other fringe groups that don't want to do anything but tear down our community. I'm not going to allow it to happen," Mayor Buckhorn said Tuesday.

Among the skeptics: Tampa City Council, which wants a bigger role in picking board members. On Thursday, every council member, except Charlie Miranda, voted to move forward with a workshop to discuss the issue.

"A powerful mayor and a powerful City Council makes for a better democratic government. It forces both branches of city government to negotiate, collaborate, and compromise," District 3 Councilwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin said Thursday.

The mayor says he welcomes conversation with the council, but in the end, says this one's up to him.

"The charter clearly lays out the separation of the authority and the separation of power. City Council does not have authority to set up an independent Citizens Review Committee. That is totally within the purview of the mayor," he said.

Mayor Buckhorn says he hopes to have the Citizens Review Board set up by the first of December.  The application process is open now, with applications on both the City of Tampa and Tampa Police Department websites.

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