Work On Charter Review Can Start As 16 Of 21 Panel Seats Are Filled
Written by Wayne Tompkins on June 28, 2007
By Wayne Tompkins
The Miami-Dade County Charter Review Task Force has filled 16 of its 21 seats, enough for a quorum that would allow the group to begin its work weighing sweeping changes to the county’s equivalent of a constitution.
The task force, which boasts a number of names familiar to the county political scene, will consider such proposals as having a directly elected property appraiser, tax collector, sheriff and supervisor of elections. Those offices are now appointed positions and only the mayor can remove officeholders.
The task force’s first meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. July 9 at the Stephen P. Clark Center, said Victor Diaz Jr., a Miami attorney who will be the task force’s chairman.
Among those who will serve on the board are former mayors Maurice Ferre of Miami and Raul L. Martinez of Hialeah, Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer, attorney and former Jackson Public Health Trust Chairman Larry Handfield and two retired county attorneys, Murray Greenberg and Robert A. Ginsburg.
The task force’s membership consists of one member appointed by each of the Miami-Dade commissioners, one by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, one by each of the county’s four largest cities and three by the League of Cities, representing smaller municipalities.
Commissioners Carlos Gimenez, Sally Heyman, Barbara Jordan and Javier Souto appointed themselves. Mr. Diaz becomes chairman as the appointee of Miami-Dade commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro.
Commissioner Audrey Edmonson initially appointed herself but later reconsidered and Tuesday appointed attorney H.T. Smith.
Also agreeing to serve are former Sunny Isles Beach city attorney Lynn Dannheisser, Miami attorneys Miguel De Grandy and Carlos Diaz-Padron and retired police division chief Ignacio Jesus Vasquez.
Pending are appointments to be made by Miami and Miami Gardens city officials and the League of Cities. Richard Kuper, the league’s executive director, said his organization is preparing to announce its appointments, delayed while the league awaited a formal request from the county.
The task force is to meet, hold public hearings, and complete its work with a report to be submitted Oct. 31.
The charter dictates the structure, powers and functions of county government. The charter review will be the first since voters installed a strong-mayor government in January. Proposed changes, which could change the balance of power between the commission and Mayor Alvarez, would go to commisioners, who could put them on the ballot.