Elected Office Of Appraiser Granted Some Independence
Written by Ted Carter on May 22, 2008
By Ted Carter
Miami-Dade County’s elected property appraiser will operate largely free of interference from county commissioners and the strong mayor, commissioners agreed Tuesday in adopting the structure for the new office voters approved in January.
Commissioners initially considered limiting the appraiser’s control to only a handful of employees, but an ordinance adopted Tuesday gives the elected official increased control. All but a few of the office’s approximately 290 workers will continue under county termination and disciplinary policies based on collective bargaining agreements, however.
"This was the only way to allow protection for county classified employees," Commissioner Carlos Gimenez said.
Commissioners for now will control the pay and benefits of the officeholder, having set an annual salary of $153,000. Commissioners indicated a willingness to put the appraiser’s salary under the state formula for constitutional offices, which would increase annual pay by about $20,000.
Commissioners will still set pay levels for the appraiser’s staff.
In another grant of autonomy, commissioners gave the appraiser authority to place ordinances and resolutions on the commission’s agendas.
The office will be a hybrid of sorts, said Assistant County Attorney Cynthia Johnson-Stacks. The appraiser will not be a constitutional officer as in Broward or Duval counties, but a department head who would be elected.
Voters approved the new office in January, and the office is to be filled in the November general election". The proposal to switch to an elected appraiser came from the county’s Charter Review Task Force.
The non-partisan race has drawn three candidates so far — Gwen Margolis, a state senator and former county commissioner, and Eli B. Cesar and James A. Shedd.