Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 120480
   Clerk's Official Copy   

File Number: 120480 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted as amended
Version: 0 Reference: R-253-12 Control: County Commission
File Name: SPECIAL ITEM NO. 1 CREATING CHARTER REVIEW TASK FORCE Introduced: 3/9/2012
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action:
Agenda Date: 3/8/2012 Agenda Item Number:
Notes: THIS IS FINAL VERSION AS ADOPTED. ALSO SEE 120259. Title: RESOLUTION CREATING A CHARTER REVIEW TASK FORCE; SETTING FORTH POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF SUCH TASK FORCE; REQUIRING A REPORT; EXPRESSING COUNTY COMMISSION’S INTENT TO FORWARD ANY RECOMMENDATION OF THE TASK FORCE APPROVED BY A 2/3’S VOTE OF ITS MEMBERSHIP FOR PLACEMENT ON BALLOT AT THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION; ADDRESSING RELATED MATTERS; AND PROVIDING FOR SUNSET (SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 120259)
Indexes: CHARTER
  CHARTER REVIEW
  TASK FORCE
Sponsors: Sally A. Heyman, Prime 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

County Attorney 3/9/2012 Assigned Oren Rosenthal

Board of County Commissioners 3/8/2012 Special Item 1 Adopted as amended P
REPORT: County Attorney Robert Cuevas read into the record the title of the foregoing proposed resolution. Commissioner Heyman explained the intent of the foregoing resolution, noting it complied with the County’s constitutional, legislative requirement to establish a Charter Review Task Force to review Home Rule Charter (the Charter) related issues and propose necessary revisions. She stated that she had sponsored this item to create a task force to review the Charter in an appropriate manner, and the County’s Charter review process had worked well in the past. She pointed out that this proposed resolution would allow those commissioners unable to participate in a previous process to participate, review issues requiring change, provide a forum for deliberations, communication and transparency, introduce to the public any necessary revisions, and place directly on the November 2012 ballot those Task Force’s recommendations approved by two-thirds majority vote of its members. Commissioner Diaz noted he supported establishing another Charter Review Task Force, but expressed concern that the County Commission would be appointing most of its members. He suggested premier entities be included as part of the Task Force, and he clarified the Task Force members needed to be individuals who would provide a fresh outlook on Charter issues. He expressed concern that the public would think this proposed resolution gave the County Commission too much control over the process. Commissioner Souto noted he supported the County Commission moving forward with the Charter review process. He expressed concern that special interests were controlling politics in the County, and he explained that the Charter review process would allow the County to hear the public’s concerns. He stressed the importance of democracy and obtaining public input. Commissioner Bell asked the County Attorney to provide her with a list of all the recommendations submitted to the County Commission by the 2007 Charter Review Task Force, the recommendations acted on, and those recommendations placed on the ballot since she was under the understanding that the County Commission had taken action on previous Task Force’s recommendations. Commissioner Bell commented on an article published in the “Miami Today” regarding whether slush funds for commissioners should be outlawed. She clarified discretionary reserve funds were eliminated in 2009. She questioned how the Board could correct the public’s misconceptions and communicate to the public accurate information relating to slush funds. Commissioner Bell asked that the County administration provide her with the information relating to slush funds in order to publicize that information through media outlets to inform the public that discretionary reserve funds were eliminated. Commissioner Bell expressed her support for the recommendation to create a Task Force every five years and allow recommendations approved by a two-thirds majority vote of its members to be placed directly on the ballot. Commissioner Monestime expressed his support for the foregoing resolution, and he commented that the Charter review process should not be done in piece meal. He explained the County Commission should place as many Task Force recommendations on the ballot as possible. Commissioner Sosa questioned whether the voters had already voted against providing the Charter Review Task Force with the ability to place recommendations directly on the ballot, and she expressed her support for the creation of a Task Force every five years to review Charter related issues. She expressed concern for the selection process to appoint the members of the Task Force, and she recommended a criterion of expertise be established to appoint who would serve on the Task Force. She questioned whether any County officials had been invited to participate in the review process for municipal charters. Vice Chairwoman Edmonson asked that the County Attorney provide the Board with a copy of the Charter amendments proposed by the 2007 Charter Review Task Force and placed on the last ballot prior to the adjournment of today’s meeting. Commissioner Moss suggested an overview of the 2007 Charter Review Task Force proposed Charter amendments would be helpful. He pointed out segments of the community were proposing Charter amendments that exceeded what the previous Task Force recommended. He stressed that the County Commission would never be able to make a recommendation regarding Charter amendments that would please everyone. Chairman Martinez noted he would not support this item. He explained that the County Commission typically appointed people with special interests, and he expressed concern for placing directly on the ballot any recommendations approved by a two-thirds majority vote of the Task Force members. He urged the commissioners to not yield to the pressures of special interests. Assistant County Attorney Oren Rosenthal advised that the May 24, 2011, special election ballot included a question proposing to amend the Charter, titled “Home Rule Charter Amendment,” relating to the creation, appointment, and providing powers to the Charter Review Task Force. He stated that the ballot question language stated: “Shall the Charter be amended to provide the creation of a Charter Review Task Force, who shall meet on presidential election years to propose Charter revisions to forbid elected County Charter officers from serving as members of the Task Force, and to submit those revisions approved by two-thirds majority of the Task Force directly to the electorate on the same ballot as the presidential elections.” He further advised that the results for that question was 39.67 percent “Yes,” represented 69,903 votes, and 60.33 percent “No,” represented 106,297 votes. Commissioner Sosa pointed out that she together with Commissioners Heyman, Bell, Diaz, Edmonson, Gimenez, Jordan, and Monestime had sponsored the resolution to place the foregoing question on the ballot. She questioned whether the Commission should consider seeking public input. She also explained that the County Commission eliminated slush funds from the budget to fund meals for senior citizens. Chairman Martinez clarified he never had a slush fund. Commissioner Diaz clarified he never had a slush fund either. Commissioner Bovo noted commissioners had to represent their constituents, and he pointed out that the County Commission had extended the deadline to collect signatures for citizens’ petition initiatives. He stated that, in the future, the Board would try to bring legislation to expound citizens’ ability to collect signatures and make the process easier to petition government. He explained the Board was obligated to place questions on the ballot as long as the items were not self-serving. Commissioner Bovo expressed support for the creation of a Task Force every five years, and he suggested that the proposed Charter Review Task Force’s appointees should not be individuals who do business with the County nor seating commissioners. He noted the County Commission should not fear elections and the democratic process. Commissioner Bovo offered an amendment to prohibit lobbyists from serving on the Task Force. Commissioner Heyman accepted Commissioner Bovo’s amendment and further amended the foregoing resolution to prohibit anyone who conducted direct business with the County from serving on the proposed Charter Review Task Force. Commissioner Jordan noted she opposed the provision that would allow Task Force recommendations approved by a two-thirds majority vote of its members to be placed directly on the ballot. Commissioner Heyman explained the public was concerned that the County Commission would not approve placing Task Force recommendations on the ballot. She clarified the public thought the County Commission was disregarding their concerns. Commissioner Jordan noted the County Commission had approved many items that demonstrated the public’s concerns were taken into consideration. She pointed out that Task Force members lacked knowledge of the broader community, and how the community was impacted would not be completely analyzed when developing recommendations. She noted she could not support a proposal that the voters had already rejected. Commissioner Barreiro commented that all County related issues should not be presented before the voters for approval and that ballot questions approved by a two-thirds majority vote of the Task Force’s members should not be directly placed on the ballot inasmuch as the public had elected the county commissioners to make decisions. Vice Chairwoman Edmonson commented that she disagreed with the last Charter Review Task Force’s recommendation relating to term limits since she believed county commissioners were currently serving on term limits because constituents could vote them out of office when in disagreement. She clarified the media was confusing discretionary funds with slush funds, and county commissioners never had slush funds. She noted those funds were invested in the community. She commented the members of the previous Task Force had displayed a negative view of the County Commission and recommended a return to at-large county commission districts. She noted the members of the County Commission should not allow the fear to small groups influence them to vote contrary to what was best for the community. Commissioner Diaz noted the County Commission should not support an issue that the public recently voted against. He expressed concern that the County could be controlled by special interest groups. In response to Commissioner Diaz’s request for a definition of special interest groups, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal explained the common definition was a group of people with particular demands who tried to influence political decisions involving those demands. Commissioner Diaz noted there were laws in place for individuals threatening elected officials, and individuals threatening government officials in the County needed to be exposed. He suggested this proposed resolution be deferred for further analysis since several of his suggestions were excluded from the foregoing resolution. Commissioner Souto explained the diversity in Miami was the cause for special interest groups controlling the community. He urged elected officials to listen to the public and not be controlled by special interest groups. He noted the Charter review process should allow the public to participate, and the will of the people should be taken into consideration through the democratic process. Commissioner Bell noted that the County Attorney had provided the information she requested regarding the recommendations submitted by the previous Task Force and that the information indicated the County Commission had acted on most of the recommendations proffered. She explained that she did not feel threatened by the media or special interest groups. She clarified she would vote to place on the ballot a question on issues requested by her constituents. Commissioner Sosa questioned whether this proposed resolution could be deferred to provide time to clarify how to determine when an individual was doing business with the County. She noted the County Commission should analyze the amount of influence that would be given to municipal governments versus County residents; and she would gladly hold sunshine meetings to ensure everyone was represented, a positive process was established, and to ensure the County Commission abided by all Charter guidelines and requirements. In response to Commissioner Monestime‘s inquiry regarding whether it was required to have Charter reviews by a specific body every five years, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised that Section 9.08 of the Charter required that the County Commission review the Charter every five years; and it provided the Board with the discretion to establish the review process if it was determined that the Charter needed to be reviewed. He stated that the initial matter was that the Board needed to review it every five years to determine if changes needed to be made. Commissioner Monestime clarified establishing a Charter Review Task Force was not necessary. Responding to Commissioner Monestime’s inquiry regarding how to select members for the proposed task force, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised the Charter had no direction in that respect. Commissioner Monestime advised he agreed with Commissioner Moss’s comments regarding establishing criteria to select appointees to the task force, noting the task force should be comprised of experienced, competent individuals without a political agenda, who did not conduct business with the County. He explained that he supported placing the same questions on the general election ballot in November since voter turnout would be much higher than it was for special elections. He stated that he supported appointing persons who were serving as government officials, former government administrators, elected officials, and those who were in business, or had been engaged in business with government. Commissioner Diaz thanked the Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation, especially Senators Rene Garcia and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, for their work with issues relating to Jackson Memorial Hospital. He stated that he would ask the Chairman of the Board to facilitate a joint meeting between the County and the hospital’s administration to discuss the future and governance of Jackson to reach a mutually agreeable solution. In response to Commissioner Moss’s request, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal read into the record the 18 recommendations made to the County Commission by the 2007 Charter Review Task Force; and he explained which recommendations were presented before the voters and the election’s outcome for each recommendation. In response to Commissioner Moss’s question regarding whether the Mayor’s salary was discussed by the previous Task Force, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised that it was briefly discussed; but that information needed to be verified with his notes. Chairman Martinez asked all County employees to leave the County Commission Chambers. He pointed out this meeting had been advertised on the Miami Herald and the Daily Business Review on February 23, 2012; and six public hearings had been held. He noted that he was interested in seeing the public hearings’ attendance log sheets inasmuch as that represented the public’s interest, which was under discussion. Commissioner Heyman clarified the County Commission had approved 5 of the 18 recommendations on January 29, 2008. She explained eight of those recommendations failed, two were withdrawn, and three were not properly placed on the agenda. She pointed out that the Charter Review Task Force would be empowered to review the Charter, and they would be unable to make automatic Charter revisions. She noted the Task Force members should be credentialed, reputable, knowledgeable people, and be representative of the community. She pointed out this proposed resolution differed from the question placed on the May 2011 ballot, which would have amended the Charter to include a provision mandating that a Charter Review Task Force be setup through the Charter. She clarified that today’s resolution satisfied the requirement to have the Charter reviewed every five years, noting it would allow the previous Charter Review Task Force’s recommendations to be reviewed together with other previously proposed Charter amendments. She suggested any recommendations arising from the Charter review should first be introduced to the electorate at public hearings throughout the various regional areas of Miami-Dade County. She noted that the Charter amendments were ultimately made by the voters as part of a democratic process inclusive of the Board, and it was time to allow for a comprehensive dialogue on Charter review. In response to Commissioner Moss’s questions, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised conflicting Charter amendment ballot questions leading to voter confusion could be challenged in court, which would most likely be stroke down by a court based on how the initiatives were worded. He stated that the removal of one or both of the confusing questions could be requested to prevent voter confusion, but the course of action was at the Court’s discretion. In response to Commissioner Moss’s question, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised that at this time county commissioners were treated differently due to staggered election terms; therefore, there were permissible ways to differentiate certain terms of the office. In regards to Commissioner Moss’s question regarding the feasibility of placing before the electorate of a county commission district a Charter amendment question proposing a salary increase, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised that the Charter could only be amended by the votes of the entire electorate of the County; and it could not be amended by the votes of the electorate of certain county commission districts. Commissioner Moss asked that the County Attorney prepare a Charter amendment ballot question regarding the Mayor’s salary inasmuch as the County Commission currently determined that salary. In response to Commissioner Moss’s inquiry, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised that straw ballot issues could be placed on the ballot of an existing countywide election; and the sponsor of the legislation could be identified. Chairman Martinez read into the record the statistics on the public’s attendance for the public hearing held at the West Kendall Regional Public Library for Charter review purposes. In response to Commissioner Moss’s inquiry, Chairman Martinez noted a synopsis of all the public hearings was not available; and the statistical report was compiled by his staff inasmuch as they had attended that particular meeting. Discussion ensued regarding the low attendance turnout at the community public hearings. Commissioner Heyman asked the County Attorney to provide members of the Board with a report on how the 2007 Charter Review Task Force was structured in terms of the selection of nominees by the Mayor and members of the County Commission, the League of Cities, and other municipal entities. Commissioner Heyman urged members of the County Commission to submit the names and resumes of nominees to the proposed Charter Review Task Force to the County Attorney by April 3, 2012, in order for these nominations to be confirmed by April 17, 2012. Hearing no other questions or comments, the Board proceeded to vote on this proposed resolution as amended to add the following language to Section 2: “no person who is currently a registered lobbyist or who does business with the County may be appointed to serve as a member of the Charter Review Task Force.”

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION CREATING A CHARTER REVIEW TASK FORCE; SETTING FORTH POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF SUCH TASK FORCE; REQUIRING A REPORT; EXPRESSING COUNTY COMMISSION’S INTENT TO FORWARD ANY RECOMMENDATION OF THE TASK FORCE APPROVED BY A 2/3’S VOTE OF ITS MEMBERSHIP FOR PLACEMENT ON BALLOT AT THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION; ADDRESSING RELATED MATTERS; AND PROVIDING FOR SUNSET

BODY
WHEREAS, Section 9.07 of the Home Rule Charter provides that amendments to the Charter may only be proposed by a resolution adopted by the Board of County Commissioners or by petition of electors as set forth in the Charter; and
WHEREAS, Section 9.08 of the Home Rule Charter of Miami Dade County (the “Charter”) requires this Board of County Commissioners (the “Board”) at least once in every five year period to review the Charter and determine whether or not there is a need for revisions of the Charter; and
WHEREAS, over four (4) years ago, the Board created the most recent Charter Review Task Force to review the Charter and advise the Board of any recommended amendments or revisions; and
WHEREAS, there may be a need to amend the Charter to address pressing issues; and
WHEREAS, the creation of a Charter Review Task Force will allow more opportunity for public input and focused study of possible amendments to the Charter; and
WHEREAS, this Board should forward any proposal of the Charter Review Task Force, which is approved by 2/3’s vote of the membership of such Task Force for placement on the General Election ballot; and
WHEREAS, there is a countywide General Election currently scheduled to take place on November 6, 2012,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. There is hereby created a Charter Review Task Force which shall consist of twenty (20) members, thirteen (13) of which shall be appointed by each County Commissioner, one (1) by the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, four (4) by each of the four largest cities in Miami-Dade County, and two (2) by the League of Cities to represent smaller cities in Miami-Dade County. Appointments shall be made by submission of a memorandum to the Clerk of the Board of Miami-Dade County by each official or entity authorized to make such appointment within fifteen (15) days of adoption of this Resolution. The Chairperson of the Task Force shall be selected by the members of the Task Force.
Section 2. The Charter Review Task Force shall reflect racial, ethnic, and gender balance and diversity and its members shall be electors of Miami-Dade County. No person who is currently a registered lobbyist or who does business with the County may be appointed to serve as a member of the Charter Review Task Force.
Section 3. The Charter Review Task Force shall be staffed by the County Mayor or the County Mayor’s Designee, the County Attorney, and County Clerk.


Section 4. The Charter Review Task Force shall review the Home Rule Charter of Miami-Dade County in its entirety and shall prepare and submit to this board written recommendations setting forth any proposed amendments or revisions to the Charter. In conducting its review, the Task Force should:
a. Study the Final Report of the last Charter Review Task force;
b. Study all proposed charter amendments submitted to the voters since the last Charter Review Task Force issued its recommendations;
c. Invite knowledgeable members of the community to appear and make recommendations.
d. Conduct public hearings at various stages in the review process.
e. Conduct regional public meetings (for example, in North, South, Central Miami-Dade County) to convey recommendations of the Charter Review Task Force to persons in attendance and receive any additional comments from the public regarding recommendations. The Task force shall reconvene to consider any public comments prior to submission of a final report to the Board of County Commissioners recommending charter amendment proposals and placement of such proposals on the General Election ballot. These regional public meetings shall be in addition to meetings which are to be conducted in accordance with the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. Nothing herein would prohibit the Task Force from conducting by electronic means any such regional public meetings required by this paragraph.
Section 5. All proceedings of the Charter Review Task Force shall be conducted in accordance with the Government in the Sunshine Law (Sec. 286.011 Fla. Stats.) and the Citizens’ Bill of Rights of the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter. The Task Force shall be deemed an “agency” for the purposes of the Public Records Law (Sec. 119 Fla. Stats.).
Section 6. The Task Force shall submit its written recommendations to this Board no later than one hundred and twenty (120) days of the effective date of this resolution, provided, however nothing herein prohibits the Task Force from providing a report or reports to the Board prior to prior to such time.
Section 7. The Commission hereby expresses its intent to forward any item approved by at least 2/3’s of the membership of the Charter Review Task Force for placement on the ballot at the next available countywide election.
Section 8. The Commission shall consider and may place any written recommendations forwarded by a simple majority of the Charter Review Task Force on the General Election ballot that the Commission deems to be in the best interest of the residents of Miami-Dade County.
Section 9. Nothing in this resolution precludes the Board of County Commissioners or a petitioner who has been certified by the Clerk of the Board to have submitted a legally sufficient initiative petition with sufficient signatures from placing a proposal to amend the Charter on the ballot, nor does anything herein preclude the Mayor of Miami-Dade County from seeking to place such a proposal on the ballot.
Section 10. The Charter Review Task Force shall complete its deliberations and prepare its report recommending changes to the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter, if any, for presentation to the Board at its July 17, 2012 meeting. The County Attorney is hereby directed to prepare any necessary resolutions to place these recommendations on the November 6, 2012 General Election ballot and place such resolutions on the July 17, 2012 Board meeting agenda without the need for committee review.
Section 11. The Task Force created pursuant to this resolution shall sunset and stand dissolved on the 364th day from the effective date of this resolution, unless it is extended by an ordinance duly adopted by the Board.



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