PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Panama City Beach council members are proposing a new ordinance, giving their city manager more authority in emergency situations. 

Mayor Mark Sheldon said the city manager would be able to set restrictions on the town without council approval.

“We wanted to give the city manager quicker authority,” Sheldon said. “Basically every time we could call an emergency meeting we could do exactly what’s in the ordinance today but it can take up to six hours to call an emergency meeting if I do so with the city now.”

The proposal is a direct result of last weekend’s unrest. 

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Currently, the mayor must call an emergency meeting or at least three council members must get together to make a decision. Sheldon said if this law passes a change can be made in minutes. 

This would allow the city manager to immediately set curfews, close down areas of town and stop alcohol sales without the council’s vote. 

These restrictions would last for 72 hours or until the city council meets to end it.

Sheldon said since City Manager Drew Whitman is a former police chief they have full confidence he will know how to handle a situation and not abuse the power.

“I think him being a former chief of police absolutely gives him a lot more grace from the city council,” Sheldon said. “He knows better than we do, he is an expert in the field.”

Should this law pass and the city manager have to use this power, city officials will send out a direct notification to residents using local news stations and Alert Bay.

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Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said he fully supports this proposal. 

Beach Police increased staffing by 600 percent to keep up with the weekend’s disorder.

He said having this partnership and communication is key. 

“The ability for us to communicate with them efficiently and effectively and knowing that they know what we are saying is accurate and then making decisions on behalf of what we believe is better for public safety, it’s everything,” Talamantez said. 

Council members will have an official vote on this proposal at their April 14 meeting.