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Front Page » Top Stories » Makeover For Miamidade County Government In Motion

Makeover For Miamidade County Government In Motion

Written by on April 15, 2010

By Risa Polansky
Miami-Dade could be in for a new form of government, with lawmakers looking to kill today’s strong mayor system but not necessarily in favor of the old "strong commission’ structure.

Voters in 2007 agreed by a nearly 2-to-1 margin to beef up Carlos Alvarez’s role, handing him executive power over the administration despite protest from all 13 county commissioners.

Now, come the Aug. 24 primary election, lawmakers hope voters will be ready to change their minds.

Commissioners haven’t in the past three years — all six members at a committee meeting Tuesday spoke against the current strong mayor structure. But they couldn’t agree on how to change it.

Commissioners Barbara Jordan and Carlos Gimenez each proposed ballot items that would return executive authority to the commission, Mr. Gimenez’s immediately and Ms. Jordan’s in 2012, when Mayor Alvarez’s final term ends.

The committee was divided when it came to timing — but also when it came to structure itself.

"While I don’t like this [strong mayor] one, I don’t think we should go back to the other one as it was," Joe Martinez said.

Agreed José "Pepe" Diaz, "I would prefer to see a combination" rather than a strong commission and "ceremonial mayor."

Audrey Edmonson also said she’d like the county manager — who now answers to the mayor — "more beholden" to both the mayor and the commission, ending the "one-sided effect."

None was clear on how a new hybrid system might work.

After hours of discussion, the committee in the end agreed to scrap both the Gimenez and Jordan proposals.

They plan a special commission meeting to create a ballot question the full lawmaking body can get behind.