Should Miami-Dade voters elect the county’s top cop and elections supervisor?
That question is at the heart of a new batch of proposed charter amendments that county commissioners will consider during a special meeting Thursday.
They may also take back their decision from earlier this year to ask voters if they want to impose two, four-year term limits for commissioners.
The board agreed 8-5 in March to place the term-limits amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot, quelling criticism from activists including Norman Braman that commissioners were reluctant to back county reform.
But Commissioner Dennis Moss, who voted against the amendment in March, has asked his colleagues to reconsider that decision on Thursday.
Instead, Moss, who resoundingly defeated a Braman-backed opponent in last week’s election, wants the board to discuss an amendment setting term limits while also prohibiting outside employment and raising commissioners’ salaries to about $92,000, a number set by state formula.
“I believe that in the past, that we’ve kind of been responding to intimidation in reference to the issue of term limits,” he said. “If you’re going to have term limits, you have to have a reasonable salary tied to it. ... That just makes logical sense.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Moss had garnered support from six commissioners — one short of the required seven — to revisit the item.
Voters rejected a similar amendment in January that would have tied term limits to paying commissioners the $92,000-a-year salary. The defeat marked the 13th time in five decades that the electorate has said “no’’ to a proposed salary hike.
After that, Commissioners Lynda Bell and Rebeca Sosa moved to get term limits on the ballot without any salary or employment conditions.
A separate charter question, put forth by a charter review task force, proposes paying commissioners a salary equal to the county’s median income, beginning in 2016. The 2010 median income was around $46,000.
Fourteen other questions backed by the task force are also on Thursday’s agenda, including a contentious proposal to create new cities with only minimal commission input. Three commissioners have proposed alternatives to the task force’s plan. One would restore the commission’s power; another would pave the way for the county to incorporate all neighborhoods that are not already in cities.
Commissioners created the task force in March, appointing 20 members to draft charter proposals. The group has faced criticism for cramming its meetings into a short time period — with all 20 task force members rarely in attendance — and for too strongly favoring pro-cityhood activists. Last month, commissioners delayed a schedule vote on the charter questions, saying they had not had enough time to digest the proposals.
Separately on Thursday, Commission Chairman Joe Martinez has proposed two charter amendments to turn the appointed police director and elections supervisor into elected positions, as they are in every other county in the state. Miami-Dade, governed by a strong mayor with a home-rule charter that gives it unique powers, has kept those positions as appointed department heads.
Martinez, a former police officer who lost his county mayoral bid against incumbent Carlos Gimenez last week, said he doesn’t intend to run for sheriff.