A group of Opa-locka residents filed a lawsuit asking that a city commissioner be removed from his seat due to a new charter amendment establishing term limits in the city.
The amendment passed in the same November election where Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes won re-election. It limits terms to eight consecutive years and is intended to be retroactive as of the election. Holmes has served consecutive terms on the City Commission since 1994. Residents in the “Citizens on a Mission for Change” group say that because of the new rule Holmes should vacate his seat.
“According to the newly amended city charter, although Timothy Holmes was deemed a successful candidate for city commissioner, he is not eligible to hold that office by reason of having already served eight consecutive years as city commissioner,” the complaint said.
In their complaint, filed Nov. 24 in circuit court, the group claims that they have a special interest in this matter as they proposed the term limit change that was ultimately placed on the ballot.
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Term limits were first proposed by Mayor Myra Taylor during her State of the City address earlier this year, but after multiple meetings and the group petitioning for their own term limit proposal, the city decided to scrap the mayor’s initial plan.
“The people have spoken and they wanted to tweak [the amendment] to be a little more specific,” Taylor said at the July meeting.
Holmes has mostly spoken in opposition of term limits from their initial proposal and through the course of several meetings with the community.
“You think the citizens of Opa-locka they don’t know what they’re doing when they go to the polls and vote for us?” Holmes said at an April town hall meeting. “The people of Opa-locka is our term limits.”
He proposed a resolution at the same July Commission meeting attempting to remove the retroactive portion of the amendment but the Commission voted against it 4-1. Holmes cast the only yes vote.
“Timothy Holmes has been sworn into office several times, each time pledging to uphold the charter of the city of Opa-locka,” said Christopher Norwood, a spokesman for the group. “It is now abundantly clear that his pledge is conditional, based on whether it benefits his desires and not the expressed will of the people.”