Todd Weaver to remain in office

Todd Weaver to remain in office

Todd Weaver to remain in office

Close vote determines resignation wasn’t sufficient

Todd Weaver will remain on the Winter Park City Commission after three of the five commissioners voted to determine an email he sent earlier this month titled “Stepping Down” was not a “legally sufficient” resignation. 

The 3-2 vote concluded nearly two weeks of debate over Weaver’s future since the he sent the message to supporters and senior city staff on Feb. 3 only to say days later that he didn’t want to resign after all and asserting in a commission meeting last week that the email was merely an “announcement” rather than a resignation.

A contrite Weaver apologized for the hubbub at a special meeting on Wednesday to decide his fate.

“I apologize for being the cause of this special session,” he said, noting that he was sleep deprived and contending with new work duties outside of City Hall on the morning he sent the letter. “I should have given it a little more time before I hit the send button …  it was just a stupidity move on my part.”

At stake was whether Weaver could serve the remainder of his term until 2025 or if the City Commission would appoint someone new to fill the seat until the next general election in 2024. The city attorney said at last week’s meeting that if Weaver’s note was considered an immediate resignation then it was unlikely he could take it back.

Jockeying among interest groups and candidates to fill the post began within hours of Weaver’s email.

An opinion from a labor attorney sought by the city on the matter questioned Weaver’s credibility and concluded his message was a clear resignation.

“In my view, Mr. Weaver’s recent statements appear to be a crude attempt by him to recharacterize the events of him drafting and sending the email,” wrote Benton Wood of law firm Fisher Phillips.

Mayor Phil Anderson and Commissioner Sheila DeCiccio voted in favor of calling Weaver’s action a resignation and pointed to the attorney’s opinion as well as language in Weaver’s letter, including his use of the past tense when talking about his tenure and his signature on the email, which noted his time as a commissioner from 2019-2023, two years before his term is scheduled to end.

“The clear thrust of the communication is to inform residents he’s stepping down,” DeCiccio said.

Commissioners Marty Sullivan, Kris Cruzada and Weaver himself voted to keep Weaver in place and rejected the legal opinion.

Sullivan said Weaver clearly wanted to continue to serve and it was in the best interest of Winter Park residents to have a commissioner elected by the people rather than one appointed by the commission.

Ten residents spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting and were split over whether to keep Weaver, a proponent of more sustainability policies in the city, on the board.

“Have you ever changed your mind about something?” asked resident Pat McDonald, noting that at last week’s commission meeting the people on the dais conceded they wanted to change course on plans for the old library building when they ended an agreement with one developer to solicit new ideas. “Let’s just assume it was a resignation letter. He changed his mind.”

At least one resident noted her “trust is not within Mr. Weaver anymore.”

Cruzada said he found Weaver’s email to be “ambiguous” and assigning meaning to it would be a “slippery slope.”

“When I read the email, it was kind of like reading a book with no ending …,” Cruzada said. “It’s not as crystal clear as I would like it to be … Do I cringe about how we got here? Yes, it’s regrettable. We’re all human. We all err every now and then.”


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Global Peace Film Festival Comes to Winter Park

Global Peace Film Festival Comes to Winter Park

Global Peace Film Festival Comes to Winter Park

September 19-25

Guest Columnist Charley Williams / September 6, 2022

Wander the globe without going through a single pesky TSA line. Leave your luggage in the closet where it won’t get lost. Catch up on your bucket-list destinations, as the world comes to Winter Park!

It’s the 20th Annual Global Peace Film Festival, Monday, September 19 through Sunday, September 25, with screenings at Enzian, the Rollins campus and the Winter Park Library.

Long and Short Documentaries in 23 Categories

More than 34 long- and short-format documentary films in 23 separate categories address issues which are top-of-mind in today’s world: voting, social justice, music, civil rights, environmental justice, ethics and immigration — to name a few.

Website Available Now

View trailers and film bios on the festival website  Most films will be screened multiple times. The website also lists panel discussions and art exhibitions. You can purchase tickets for in-person and virtual viewings on this site. Tickets for opening night are $12; all others are $10.

Virtual Screenings Available

From September 20 to October 2, virtual screenings will be available for movie lovers who are out of town or unable to attend in-person events.

Opening Night – September 20 at the Enzian

Opening night will be held at the Enzian theatre September 20th, with the screening of World Peace and Other 4h Grade Achievements.

Human Peace Sign – September 21 at the Library

As a bonus feature, Valencia College will celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace with the staging and photographing of a Human Peace Sign, Wednesday, September 21 at the Winter Park Library following the 6:00 pm screening of Mission Joy.

What are your personal choices?

My personal picks: Into the Canyon (750-mile hike thru the Grand Canyon); American River (Passaic River, NJ); Shepherds of the Earth (Kenya); Into Dust (Pakistan); The Long Break-up (Ukraine); and the Big Payback (discussing reparations solutions for past racial injustices).



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What Does Democracy Mean to You?

What Does Democracy Mean to You?

What Does Democracy Mean to You?

Editor's Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.  

Guest Columnist Charley Williams / July 2, 2022

July 4th is the time to re-examine and to celebrate WHAT democracy means to each of us, to our families. to our close associates, to those with whom we may disagree.

Democracy is fragile. Our unique brand of American democracy is based not only upon representative government but also upon inclusiveness and a healthy respect for the minority point of view. The road to compromise begins with inclusion, healthy discourse and respect.

E Pluribus Unum: “Out of Many, One”

These words from the Great Seal of 1776 have formed our mantra for the past 246 years, thanks to John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. As we approach this July 4th, how will each of us renew those words? We should be intentional about engaging in these conversations. As Winston Churchill said, “A nation which forgets its history has no future.”


A free media is essential to a healthy democracy. Can democracy flourish in an environment where truth is neither honored nor respected? We have seen how propaganda works if unchecked and unchallenged. Misinformation causes real harm. Is social media an asset or a liability? Ask your kids.


One person, one vote. Have we strengthened the right to vote and maintained easy access to the ballot for all citizens? Have we made it more difficult to vote? Is our Achilles heel voter fraud or the simple fact that not enough Americans are voting?

Church and State

Are we maintaining the separation between church and state that was so important to our Founding Fathers?

Future Citizens

Our children are our country’s greatest asset. Are we investing enough in healthcare, education and skillsets that nurture productive and engaged future citizens?

Rule of Law

Do we know our own history? The United States is a nation of immigrants. It was almost dissolved over the issue of slavery and was further endangered by the “neo-slavery” which transgressed the rule of law for more than 70 years. With the exception of our native peoples, we need to remember that all our forebears came from somewhere else.


Are our institutions fostering trust by operating in a transparent and responsive manner, providing for the common good? Are our collective efforts focused on safe roads, safe drinking water, healthcare for people when they need it, and a fair and impartial judicial system?


Can we rely upon law enforcement at all levels to provide a safe and secure society even though we now live in a country where the number of guns far outnumbers the number of citizens?

When you start the conversation this July 4th, ask yourself first: “What does democracy mean to me?” Then ask yourself, when was the last time I heard the words: “I might be wrong,” or “I’m sorry?” Having begun the conversation, practice stepping back and listening to the person with whom you’re having this conversation.

More than ever, the weight of our country’s health rests on each of our shoulders. As political scientist Barbara F. Walter maintains, “Democracy only works if we want it to work.” And we have work to do to make sure our Democracy remains strong and healthy.

Charley Williams
Winter Park

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Top Young Composers Coming to Steinmetz

Top Young Composers Coming to Steinmetz

Top Young Composers Coming to Steinmetz

by Geri Throne

After a two-year hiatus due to Covid, the National Young Composers Challenge will return April 10 to Orlando. The Composium – part concert, part competition, part seminar – will be largest in the NYCC’s 17-year history. It will be held in the new Steinmetz Concert Hall at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Admission is free. Winning compositions will be rehearsed, discussed and recorded before the live audience. The NYCC receives submissions from throughout the United States for the event. A panel of judges selects the top three orchestral and top three ensemble compositions to be performed. Because of the Covid hiatus, twice as many composers as in past years will be featured.

The national event is billed as a chance for audience members to connect to the orchestra and view the inner workings of orchestral composition. Christopher Wilkins again will serve as maestro and audience guide. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, expanded this year with 11 more string players, will perform the works. It also will perform winning compositions from the 2021 national challenge and from the previous two years.

Founded in 2005, the NYCC is a non-profit charitable organization whose goal is to promote the creation of new orchestral music and foster the careers of the next generation of American composers.

The Composium begins at noon and continues through 6 p.m., followed by a reception. Attendees can come and go during the day, but they are encouraged to register online in advance at


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WP Voters to Decide on Single Member Districts

WP Voters to Decide on Single Member Districts

WP Voters to Decide on Single Member Districts

Back Yard Chicken Pilot Program Takes Off

by Anne Mooney / August 30, 2020

Single Member Districts on March 2021 Ballot

At their August 26 regular meeting, Commissioners voted 3-2 to draft an ordinance that would add the single member districts question to the March 2021 ballot. If the ordinance is passed by the Commission, the ballot question would ask voters if they want to continue the current “at large” form of representation, in which each Commissioner represents all Winter Park citizens, regardless of where they live, or if the City should be divided into districts, with each district represented by a Commissioner from that district.

This issue was discussed at length during the 2019 Charter Review in preparation for the 2020 vote on updated Charter revisions. Single member districts was not among the 11 Charter questions on the 2020 ballot, as the Charter Review Committee felt Winter Park was geographically too small to be divided up into separate districts.

The question remained, however, in the minds of some citizens who are advocating for single member districts, which they believe will provide members of the historically Black Hannibal Square neighborhood a better chance for a strong voice in city government. There has not been a Black commissioner in Winter Park since the late 19th century, despite the crucial role of the Black community in the incorporation of first the town and then the city of Winter Park.

Advisory Board Appointments a First Step

One of the 11 Charter revisions that passed in 2020 was the change in Advisory Board appointments. Instead of the Mayor making all board appointments, each Commissioner also has authority to make board appointments, resulting in the appointments of several Black citizens to advisory boards this year. Service on a Citizen Advisory Board is generally regarded as one path to election to the City Commission.

Single Member Districts Requires a City Charter Change

In order to create single member districts, the City Charter would have to be revised, and a Charter revision can only be accomplished at the ballot box. There are two ways to put the question to the voters – by petition or by ordinance. In a citizen initiative, at least 10 percent of registered voters must sign a petition requesting the change. That would require gathering just over 2,000 signatures – in the midst of a pandemic.

The Commissioners also have the authority to pass an ordinance placing the question on the ballot, without the need for a petition drive. And that is what they did on August 26th, with Commissioners Todd Weaver, Sheila DeCiccio and Marty Sullivan voting in support and Commissioner Carolyn Cooper and Mayor Steve Leary dissenting.

January 20, 2021 – Deadline for the 2021 Ballot

Between now and January 2021, the Commissioners expect to hold a series of workshops in which they will have to decide how many districts there would be, where district lines would be drawn and, if the measure were to pass, how any change would affect those Commissioners currently holding office. In most cities that have single member districts, for example Orlando, the Mayor serves the city at large and each Commissioner represents a single district.

Personal Fowl

An ordinance allowing back yard chickens, which has been under discussion since 2014 or earlier, finally passed its first reading at the August 26 Commission meeting. The City plans to issue up to 25 permits for residents in single family homes to keep up to four hens – the recommended number for happy hens.

Did you know, the color of the chicken’s eggs is the same as the color of her ears. Have you ever been close enough to a chicken to look at her ears? You may now have the chance.

The chickens must be cooped in a structure no higher than 7 feet. Chicken coops must be in fenced back or side yards and placed far enough from neighboring homes to cause no disturbance. Only hens are allowed; roosters are prohibited, as they are the ones who are noisy. Residents who keep chickens must complete an educational class on chicken care and will undergo periodic City inspections to ensure coops are clean and well maintained.

The ordinance establishing this two-year pilot program is based on successful programs already in place in Orlando, Maitland and Longwood. Winter Park’s back yard chicken ordinance still has to pass its second reading before it becomes a reality, but Commissioner Todd Weaver believes that will come soon.



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Commission Moves to Wednesday

Commission Moves to Wednesday

Commission Moves to Wednesday

City Advisory Board Appointments Announced & Explained

by Anne Mooney / June 24, 2020

Starting with the July 8 meeting, regularly scheduled Commission meetings will move from the second and fourth Monday to the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Meetings will continue to begin at 3:30 pm.

The move will avoid conflicts with holidays that are celebrated on Mondays and will facilitate those popular long weekends.

Virtual Meetings Through July

Commission meetings will continue to be virtual through the end of July, based on Governor Ron DeSantis extension of Executive Order 20-69 allowing virtual meetings of local governments to continue.

New Board Appointments Across the Board

The process of appointing members of City Advisory Boards changed with the adoption in March of revisions to the Winter Park City Charter. Formerly, the Mayor made all advisory board appointments, with the approval of the Commission. Now, all boards have seven members; three members of each board are appointed by the Mayor and one member is appointed by each of the four Commissioners.

Transition Appointments – happens only once in 2020

It seems 2020 has thrown everything into a cocked hat, and there will be no exception in the matter of board appointments. The amended Charter dictates that Board members serve “at the pleasure” of the appointing Mayor or Commissioner, and their terms will run concurrently with the Mayor or Commissioner making the appointment. Each board member is limited to two three-year terms on a particular board.

This means, since Mayor Leary has only one year left to serve in his current term, his board appointees also will have one-year terms on that board. Similarly, appointees named by Commissioners Cooper and Weaver will have two-year terms.

Hang in there . . .

At Monday’s meeting, the Commission decided that the one-year appointments will be considered ‘partial terms,’ and will not count toward the two-term limit, allowing these appointees two full three-year terms in addition to the one-year term granted by Leary.

Two-year terms, however, will be considered full terms and will be eligible for only one further term on that board. This condition applies to Cooper’s and Weaver’s appointees.

Fortunately, we will encounter this situation only once, since the newly-seated 2020 Commission decided in April to release all board members from their current appointments and to begin fresh with all new May appointments, which are beginning in June because of the pandemic.

However they got there, and for however long, we owe a debt of gratitude to the people who have agreed to serve the community on the various Advisory Boards. Here is a link to the new slate.

DeCiccio Named to Library Board of Trustees

Commissioner Sheila DeCiccio was named to the seat on the Library Board of Trustees that is traditionally occupied by a member of the Commission. The seat was previously held by former Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel.



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