Doral voters will decide council members’ salaries

07/03/2014 12:00 AM

07/02/2014 12:03 PM

Doral’s voters have the power to change the city’s charter — it’s constitution — during the Aug. 26 primary election.

City governments have documents like constitutions called charters. The city charter sets out basic rules such as how local officials are elected, how long they may serve, and what authority the city government may exercise in other areas.

Every five years, the City Council appoints a five-person Charter Review Commission to examine the rules and suggest changes.

Ten amendments to Doral’s charter have been proposed by this year’s commission. Voters in Doral will decide whether or not the changes will be enacted by voting “yes” or “no” on each amendment in the Aug. 26 primary.

City residents must register by July 28 to vote in the election.

In June, the Miami Herald reviewed the first five proposed amendments. We’ll go over the last five here.

•  “Provide process for City Council members to place items on meeting agendas”: This amendment adds a new section to the charter and aims to prevent items from coming up at meetings without being advertised on the agenda beforehand. If approved, council members would be required to submit agenda items at least a week before a council meeting. Supporting documentation for items would have to be submitted at least four days before. The only way to place an item on the agenda the day of the meeting would be if it is deemed an emergency and four of the five council members voted to add it.
•  “Provide process for City Council to establish boards and appoint individuals to the boards”: Currently, the mayor has the ability to create and appoint advisory boards made up of citizens for different purposes. Examples include the cultural affairs and traffic relief advisory boards. If approved, the amendment would spread this authority across the dais, giving the entire City Council the power to create and and appoint members to these boards.
•  “Increase the base salary for the mayor and council”: The mayor currently makes a base salary of $50,000, which has been adjusted to $63,171 with yearly cost of living increases. Council members make a base of $12,000, with yearly cost of living raises bringing it up to $15,153. If this amendment is approved, the mayor’s base would be set at $60,000 and council members would earn 50 percent of that, with yearly cost of living adjustments. Doral’s mayor is the council chairman but has no executive duties; the council appoints a city manager to serve as chief administrator.
•  “Reduce residency requirements for running for office”: Right now, the charter requires a Doral citizen to reside in the city for at least two years before qualifying for candidacy for mayor of the City Council. This amendment reduces that period to six months.
•  “Reduce number of signatures needed for initiative and referendum petitions”: Voters in Doral have the power to propose ordinances to the City Council and ask the council to repeal ordinances through petitions. Currently, initiative and referendum petitions need the signatures of at least 10 percent of the registered voters from the previous city election to get on the ballot. This amendment lowers the number of required signatures to at least 3 percent.

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