Doral

Doral voters approve charter changes.

Doral voters approved five changes to the city charter, including two that reverse changes approved by voters during the August primary.

About two months after voters decided on 10 charter amendments proposed by a citizen review board — half got approved — the City Council placed five of their own suggestions before the electorate.

All five charter amendments proposed by the City Council were approved.

▪ The City Council returned the power to select a city manager — the city’s supposedly nonpolitical chief administrator — back into the hands of the mayor and council. Doral voters had approved a charter amendment in August that required each of the five council members to appoint a resident to a search committee to find a new city manager, city clerk or city attorney. That amendment was proposed by the citizen review board that convenes every five years. It passed with 54.8 percent of the vote in a primary where about 2,000 residents voted.

The council was apparently unhappy with the part about the city manager. They proposed their own amendment to snatch that appointment power back. About 53.8 percent of voters approved this, with about 6,000 people voting. Under the change, the mayor has a “reasonable” amount of time to nominate a replacement city manager. If that undetermined amount of time passes, council members can nominate someone. The nominee still needs approval from the majority of the council.

▪ In another reversal from a change approved in August, elected officials no longer have a strict two-term limit on holding office. Now they can serve two consecutive four-year terms, take a one-term break, and then return to run for the office previously held. This doesn’t apply for individuals going from council to mayor or vice-versa.

▪ Another amendment requires the city’s Charter Review Commission, a body that convenes every five years to review the city’s governing document and suggest changes, to meet after hours. It also says proposed charter changes go to voters during the November general election.

▪ Runoff elections will now be held in the first week of December instead of right before Thanksgiving.

▪ Council members can hire and fire their own legislative aides. The city manager can still discipline or fire these aides if they violate city laws or policies.

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