Q &A with the candidates

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Posted September 10, 2021 |

In addition to electing the mayor and city council members, Ocala voters will approve or reject three City Charter amendments.

One proposed change would update the 1970s language, replacing “he” with “he or she” and “policeman” and “spokesman” with “police officer” and “spokesperson” to reflect the many women working in city government. Do you believe the masculine references in the City Charter should be revised?



Manal Fakhoury:

Yes, I believe the masculine references in the City Charter should be revised. The language needs to reflect the city we live in today. It has become even more important as we have a woman as our city manager and as we have more women leaders serving the city.

The language that served our community half a century ago needs to be updated.



Barbara Fitos:

The exclusively masculine references in the City Charter are long overdue for revision.

Thus, I will vote to approve this City Charter amendment.

The City Council made the determination to review the City Charter for needed logistical updates that became known during the City Election for the District 2 Council seat in 2019. During the public workshop for same, Council agreed to a request by certain black pastors to submit suggestions and recommendations for Council’s consideration. One of the several recommendations forthcoming was to change the Charter’s exclusively

masculine pronouns/language out of respect and recognition of the many women, including our current city manager, holding such positions now described in the masculine.

At the City Council meeting of April 20th, a second reading of the ordinance eliminating gender specific references was presented. The public outcry (public comment) speaking against the proposal was so great that the Pastors respectfully requested that this particular proposal be rescinded due to a total misrepresentation of intent. At a subsequent meeting of City Council on June 15th, a second reading of a revised ordinance introduced an inclusive reference of the feminine, i.e., “he/she”. The revised

ordinance passed absent any additional public comment, and it is this revision that appears on the ballot. This seemingly straightforward recommendation, presented with the best of intentions, was met with vehement disapproval and disavowal – only one citizen came forward in support of the original language.

The City faces so many other challenges/opportunities, [including the suggestion for a more in-depth review of the City Charter by an appointed Citizen Review Committee],

that hopefully will encourage constructive dialogue, input, and continued engagement by concerned citizens.


Kent Guinn:

We will let the voters decide.




Curtis Jones:

Thank you for the question. Our history as mankind has always hinged our ability to adapt and evolve. The new amendment charter should reflect the process and progress of our society. I agree with the amendments.



Brent Malever:

I feel the charter should recognize both men and women and needs to be updated.

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