In the latest example of how not to handle your business, Miami’s government declared an early start to happy hour Thursday after the city couldn’t get three of its five commissioners in the same place at the same time after lunch.
As is their custom, commissioners broke the morning session of their meeting at noon after taking a slew of photos, issuing proclamations and awarding a long-term lease extension for the Miami Outboard Club. Chairman Keon Hardemon announced they were returning at 2 p.m.
But 2 o’clock came and went with only Hardemon on the dais. Commissioner Francis Suarez showed up and then quickly ducked out to run to a Miami Association of Realtors’ event. Commissioner Ken Russell arrived a little later.
But city rules require a majority of the commission be present on the dais in order to conduct business under what is known as a “quorum.” So, with only Hardemon and Russell on the dais, the chairman adjourned the meeting at 2:56 p.m.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for this. There’s no business we can take care of without quorum,” Hardemon announced. “I’m going to conclude the meeting at this time.”
Before lunch, Wifredo “Willy” Gort announced he had a bad head cold and was going home. Frank Carollo said in a text message that he believed business was resuming not at 2 p.m. but at 3. Hardemon walked off the dais after ending the meeting and quickly left. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Among the business the commission was scheduled to take up in the afternoon: a request by the Miami Children’s Museum for additional public land on Watson Island for a new entrance and an eventual expansion, and a proposal by city planners that would tap into private development to finance a far-ranging expansion of public art.
The museum has asked to add a half-acre unused lot adjacent to its front door to its long-term, $2-a-year lease, but city administrators say they believe the request will have to go to Miami voters in a referendum.
The long-stalled proposed expansion of the Art in Public Places program was also set for a second and final vote. The plan, approved by the commission in June on first reading, would have raised about $14 million a year by requiring private developers to set aside a percentage of construction costs for the purchase and installation of art at their projects or in locations around the city.
Under Miami-Dade County’s longstanding Art in Public Places ordinance, money is already set aside in public and private-public projects for public art.