Miamidade County Measure Would Alter Commission Procedures
Written by Risa Polansky on August 28, 2008
By Risa Polansky
A proposed measure that would expand the authority of Miami-Dade County’s commission chairman would also alter some of the commission’s operating procedures.
Under current rules, proposed ordinances cannot be discussed by commissioners, county staffers or the public during initial readings.
Comments and concerns are vetted during committee meetings and before the commission’s second and final vote.
Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro’s proposed ordinance would grant the chairman the power to initiate discussion during an ordinance’s first reading.
It would also allow the officer presiding over a meeting to set time limits for considering a motion.
Once time is up, the presiding officer could end the discussion and immediately initiate a vote.
If passed, the proposed new measure would allow certain items be placed directly on a full commission agenda rather than sent to committee first, including building and zoning moratoria and applications to amend the county’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan.
The ordinance would also tweak the commission’s "four-day rule."
The rule requires that commissioners receive a copy of each agenda item no later than four working days before a vote is called — but it only comes into effect at the request of a commissioner.
Mr. Barreiro’s proposed ordinance would allow commissioners to withdraw their four-day rule requests or allow a two-thirds commission vote to override a commissioner’s four-day-rule assertion.
Though some involve the whole commission, many of the proposed measure’s elements center on the commission chair position.
Now, a majority of commission members can call a special meeting of the commission.
The proposal would shift that power to the chairman.
It would also eliminate term limits for the position and give the chairperson greater control over committee agendas, among other changes.