Debate over TPD citizens review board

The power tug-of-war continues between Tampa City Council and Mayor Bob Buckhorn on who should select members for the newly created citizens review board.

Frustration filled city council chambers on Thursday, from council members to police representatives feeling attacked.

"I really take offense to being told that I am jealous. I am not jealous of the mayor," said councilwoman Lisa Montelione.

For weeks, the council has been asking for clarification from the Tampa City Attorney's Office on who can vote on the 11 members that will join the citizens review board by the end of the year.

The attorney's office is backing Mayor Bob Buckhorn in saying he has the sole power over choosing members.

City attorney Julia Mandell told council members her office intends to hire an outside lawyer, with no connections to the city council or the mayor, to review the city charter and clarify the roles of each side in choosing review board members. Council members previously questioned whether the city attorney's office is capable of being unbiased in advising them on the matter.

"It's not out of hand for city council to serve their constituents. I think it's out of hand to assume that city council doing their job, listening to the needs of the community and addressing these needs is out of hand," said Laila Abdelaziz, a member of CARE Florida who attended Thursday's meeting.

"I'm not going to waste my time on a board that rubber stamps the police department," added Abdelaziz.

Some residents worry with mayor choosing nine of the 11 board members, there will not be a fair assessment of Tampa Police. The mayor has said he is looking for members who are neither pro-police nor anti-police.

Applications are currently being accepted for the citizens review board.

City council plans to hold a workshop on Thursday, September 24, to further discuss the selection process.