Gainesville Regional Utilities Attorney Asks Supervisor of Elections to Stop GRU Referendum

Gainesville Regional Utilities Attorney Asks Supervisor of Elections to Stop GRU Referendum

On June 19, GRU attorney Scott Walker wrote a letter to Alachua County Elections Supervisor Kim Barton debating the legality of the GRU referendum expected to be placed on the November general election ballot .

The referendum, passed unanimously on a second reading by the Gainesville City Commission Tuesday, will allow voters to determine whether oversight of the utility will remain with its current governor-appointed board of directors, a change instituted by the bill of law 1645 and article 7 of the city charter. .

The letter follows a debate over authority between the board and the city commission, which was initially charged with oversight of the GRU.

The letter read in part: “Please note that the GRUA unanimously opposes the City of Gainesville Ordinance 2024-352 regarding the proposed charter amendment related to the governance of the GRU which will be listed on the ballot for the upcoming election because the ordinance is illegal and impermissible under the law. relevant provisions of the Charter.

The GRU authority also accused the referendum of being “illegal” and considered its language “vague” and “confusing”.

Bobby Mermer, coordinator of the Alachua County labor coalition, spoke out against Walker’s letter at the June 20 city commission meeting. The effort was aimed at disenfranchising voters, he said.

“There is nothing special about Article 7. We are allowed … to vote on this,” Mermer said. “So I just want to say shame on the GRU authorities for trying to take away our vote.”

If the referendum moves forward despite his letter to the elections supervisor, Walker warned there would be a risk of a lawsuit.

Contact Morgan Vanderlaan at [email protected]. Follow her on X @morgvande.

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Avenue Morgan Vander

Morgan Vanderlaan is a freshman political science and English major and a city and county commission reporter for The Alligator. When she’s not at work, she can be found watching, writing, and performing theater!