Coral Gables voters will have a little extra work to do at the polls when they vote in November’s presidential election. The work will take the form of five city charter ballot items.
The city’s charter review process wrapped up in March and the City Commission gave final approval to the charter items in June, narrowing the amendments down to five items from seven initial proposals.
The changes mostly focus on cleaning up language in the charter and clarifying different powers given to the commission, including guidelines for when commissioners are removed from office either because of misconduct or illness.
The five changes that will be on the Nov. 8 ballot:
▪ A change in the process of removing commissioners for misconduct. A commissioner’s removal would be tied to the same standards the governor follows for suspending an elected official who is charged with a crime. The commission would also be allowed to censure elected officials.
▪ Creation of a runoff election process in which a candidate must receive 50 percent of the vote plus one to win the race. If no candidate gets a majority, there would be a runoff election between the top two vote-getters.
▪ Adding a process that allows the City Commission to fill a vacancy if a commissioner dies while in office or cannot serve because of a serious injury or ailment. The substitute would complete the remainder of that official’s term.
▪ A proposal to remove the city’s trial board after years of inactivity. The five-member board was created to hear from employees who appealed their firing, suspension or demotion.
▪ A more direct requirement for the mayor to appoint a vice mayor and a replacement for the vice mayor, if necessary.
The commission originally planned to include a change that would take away its ability to direct or require the city manager to appoint someone to a position, but would allow commissioners to direct or request that the city manager remove someone from a post. The request would have also required a four-fifths vote.
Commissioners opted to keep their current powers, which call for only a three-fifths vote. Commissioners felt that the change might be too complicated for voters to understand. They also decided against including a charter amendment that would formally designate an external financial auditor for the city.
Residents have until Oct. 11 to register for the Nov. 8 election. Early voting begins Oct. 24.