By Dan Dolan
After two earlier attempts met with lackluster response, Miami-Dade County commission chairman Bruno Barreiro on Tuesday finalized his revision of the panel's committee system, setting up seven six-member panels to oversee all legislation and government operations for the next two years.
Under the new plan, District 12 Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz will head the airport and tourism committee and District 11 representative Joe Martinez will head the budget and finance committee.
District 3 Commissioner Audrey Edmonson will lead the economic and human services panel, while District 13 representative Natacha Seijas will control the government operations and environment committee.
The health and public-safety committee will be led by Dennis Moss of District 9, and Javier Souto of District 10 is head of recreation and cultural affairs. District 2 Commissioner Dorrin Rolle is head of the transit committee. Rebeca Sosa of District 6 will run a newly formed state intergovernmental affairs subcommittee.
Mr. Barreiro said he juggled committee assignments three times in the past week to accommodate members' schedules. However, he never changed his designated committee chairmen or the panels' assignments, triggering gossip by some political insiders that the moves were made so it would be easier to exercise control over legislation.
Under commission rules, committee chairmen have the power to push, stall or kill any legislation before it reaches the entire governing body. That gives chairmen tremendous influence over public policy and spending.
The new setup is expected to be approved by the commission at its Tuesday meeting.