Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 061800
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File Number: 061800 File Type: Ordinance Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: 06-149 Control: County Commission
File Name: COMMISSION ON ETHICS AND PUBLIC TRUST Introduced: 6/13/2006
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 10/10/2006
Agenda Date: 10/10/2006 Agenda Item Number: 7B
Notes: Title: ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 2-1074 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, RELATING TO COMMISSION ON ETHICS AND PUBLIC TRUST; AMENDING TIMETABLE FOR HANDLING COMPLAINTS; PROVIDING FOR DETERMINATION OF INTENTIONAL OR UNINTENTIONAL VIOLATIONS; AMENDING SECTION 2-1074(T) RELATING TO GROUNDLESS OR FRIVOLOUS COMPLAINTS; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE
Indexes: COMMISSION ON ETHICS AND PUBLIC TRUST
Sponsors: Joe A. Martinez, Prime Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 10/10/2006 7B Adopted P

Internal Mgmt. & Fiscal Responsibility Committee 9/21/2006 2D Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Gerald Sanchez read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Commissioner Moss questioned the rationale for the proposal to increase from 45 to 60 the number of days the Ethics Commission had to make a probable cause determination on complaints. Mr. Robert Meyers, Commission on Ethics and Public Trust Executive Director, appeared before the Board in support of the foregoing proposed resolution. He responded to Commissioner Moss’ question, noting that in accordance with the existing ordinance, the Ethics Commission (EC) had 60 days to determine legal sufficiency and only 45 days from the date of filing to determine probable cause; that essentially, the EC had more time to determine legal sufficiency than to determine probable cause. He explained that the intent of this proposal was to make the timeframe for determining probable cause consistent with that for determining legal sufficiency. Commissioner Moss questioned whether the Ethics Commission had considered advertising or making public frivolous or groundless complaints. Mr. Meyers noted if the Ethics Commission made the determination a complaint was frivolous, then that determination could be released to the public. In response to Commissioner Heyman’s request for clarification, Mr. Meyers explained that pursuant to this proposed resolution, the Ethics Commission would have 60 days to make a probable cause determination for complaints filed by the Ethics Commission, the Inspector General, or the State Attorney; and that the timeframe was 90 days for complaints filed by the public. In response to Commissioner Heyman’s question regarding whether the timeframe to determine probable cause was too long, Mr. Meyers noted if the Ethics Commission met more often, it could probably make determinations within 45 days. Following comments by Commissioner Heyman in support of the foregoing proposed ordinance, Commissioner Heyman asked Mr. Myers to draft a proposal under her sponsorship providing for a special master, a senior judge, or a hearing officer to determine probable cause for complaints filed by the public.

Board of County Commissioners 6/28/2006 Municipalities notified of public hearing Internal Mgmt. & Fiscal Responsibility Committee 9/21/2006 6/20/2006

Board of County Commissioners 6/20/2006 Scheduled for a public hearing Internal Mgmt. & Fiscal Responsibility Committee 9/21/2006

Board of County Commissioners 6/20/2006 4M Adopted on first reading 9/21/2006 P
REPORT: The foregoing proposed ordinance was adopted on first reading an set for public hearing before the Internal Management and Fiscal Responsibility Committee on September 21, 2006 at 2:00 p.m.

County Attorney 6/13/2006 Referred Internal Mgmt. & Fiscal Responsibility Committee 9/21/2006

County Attorney 6/13/2006 Assigned Gerald K. Sanchez 6/13/2006

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 2-1074 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, RELATING TO COMMISSION ON ETHICS AND PUBLIC TRUST; AMENDING TIMETABLE FOR HANDLING COMPLAINTS; PROVIDING FOR DETERMINATION OF INTENTIONAL OR UNINTENTIONAL VIOLATIONS; AMENDING SECTION 2-1074(T) RELATING TO GROUNDLESS OR FRIVOLOUS COMPLAINTS; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE

BODY
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Chapter 2, Article LXXVIII of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:1
CHAPTER 2
ADMINISTRATION

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ARTICLE LXXVIII. COMMISSION ON ETHICS AND PUBLIC TRUST

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Section 2-1074 Procedure on complaint of violation or request for advisory opinion within Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction
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(b) Preliminary investigation and public hearing. A preliminary investigation shall be undertaken by the Ethics Commission of each legally sufficient complaint over which the Ethics Commission has jurisdiction to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a violation has occurred. Where a complaint is filed pursuant to subsection (a)(1), the Ethics Commission shall within sixty (60) days from the receipt of the complaint, unless extended by the Ethics Commission for good cause, determine whether the complaint is legally sufficient. If, upon completion of the preliminary investigation, the Ethics Commission finds no probable cause to believe that a violation has been committed, the Ethics Commission shall dismiss the complaint with the issuance of a report to the complainant and the alleged violator. If the Ethics Commission finds from the preliminary investigation probable cause to believe that a violation has been committed, it shall notify via certified mail the complainant and the alleged violator, otherwise known as the respondent, in writing. Where a complaint is filed pursuant to subsection (a)(1), the Ethics Commission shall make a probable cause determination within [[forty-five (45)]] >>sixty (60)<< days from the date the complaint is filed. Where a complaint is filed pursuant to subsection (a)(2), the Ethics Commission shall make a probable cause determination within [[ninety (90)]] >>sixty (60)<< days from the date the complaint is filed. Upon request submitted to the Ethics Commission in writing, any person who the Ethics Commission finds probable cause to believe has committed a violation of a provision within its jurisdiction shall be entitled to a public hearing. Such person shall be deemed to have waived the right to a public hearing if the request is not received within twenty-one (21) days following the mailing of the probable cause notification required by this subsection. The Ethics Commission may on its own motion require a public hearing, may conduct such further investigation as it deems necessary, and may enter into such stipulations and settlements as it finds to be just and in the best interest of the citizens of Miami-Dade County. The public hearing provided for in this Section 2-1074 shall be held within sixty (60) days of the probable cause determination unless >>extended by the Ethics Commission for good cause<< [[the respondent has been granted a continuance]].
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(p)>>Public order imposing penalty.<< Upon completion of any investigation initiated under this subsection, the Ethics Commission shall make a finding and public report as to whether any provision within its jurisdiction has been violated. If the Ethics Commission finds, based upon clear and convincing evidence in the record, that a violation has been committed, the Ethics Commission shall issue an order imposing the appropriate penalty as provided in the ordinance being enforced. >>The public report and final order shall include a determination as to whether the violation was intentional or unintentional.<< The Ethics Commission shall, within eighteen (18) months of the filing of a complaint, render a final order disposing of said complaint. If a person fails to comply with an order issued by the Ethics Commission, the Ethics Commission may make application to any circuit court of this State which shall have jurisdiction to order the violator to comply with the order of the Ethics Commission. Any violator who fails to obey the order may be punished by the court.
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(s)>>Dismissal of complaints.<< Notwithstanding any other provision of this ordinance, the Ethics Commission may, at its discretion, (i) dismiss any complaint at any stage of disposition should it determine that the public interest would not be served by proceeding further, or (ii) dismiss any complaint at any stage of disposition and issue a letter of instruction to the respondent when it appears that the alleged violation was inadvertent, unintentional or insubstantial. In the event the Ethics Commission dismisses a complaint as provided in this subsection (s), the Ethics Commission shall issue a public report stating with particularity its reasons for the dismissal. The Ethics Commission may, at the request of the State Attorney or any other law enforcement agency, stay an ongoing proceeding. The Ethics Commission shall not interfere with any ongoing criminal investigation of the State Attorney or U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
(t) [[Attorney’s fees]] >>Frivolous or groundless complaints.<< In any case in which the Ethics Commission determines that the complaining party filed a frivolous or groundless complaint as defined in Section 57.105, Florida Statutes, the Ethics Commission shall order the complaining party to pay any costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the Ethics Commission and/or the alleged violator. The determination by the Ethics Commission regarding whether a complaint is frivolous or groundless shall be deemed conclusive. The County Commission or any city commission may pay any attorney’s fees and costs incurred by a respondent when the Ethics Commission finds either no probable cause to believe that a violation has been committed or that no violation has been committed.
Section 2. If any section, subsection, sentence, cause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such validity.
Section 3. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any Sunset provisions shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word ordinance may be changed to "section", "article" or other appropriate word.
Section 4. This ordinance shall become effective 10 days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.
1Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] shall be deleted. Words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< constitute the amendment proposed. Remaining provisions are now in effect and remain unchanged.



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