Miami Beach

Miami Beach, Surfside, West Miami voters make tweaks to their city charters

Miami Beach, Surfside and West Miami residents voted Tuesday to change their city charters — the governing document for a city.

MIAMI BEACH

Voters passed two of two measures:

▪ Written reports: The city commission now will be required to hold a public discussion of fringe benefits provided to public employees within six months before the city ratifies a collective bargaining agreement. At a public hearing before commissioners, the city manager would be required to deliver a written report with specifics on the current status of benefits like pension and health insurance for the city’s employees and officers.

▪ Long-term agreements: More votes will be required from a city board and the city commission to approve long-term management and concession deals with private companies to operate on public property. With the change, the city’s planning board will have to approve agreements that last 10 years or longer by four of seven votes, and the city commission by six out of seven votes.

SURFSIDE

Voters passed five of seven measures:

▪ Vacancies on the commission: The charter will now allow for scheduling of a special election to fill vacant seats on the commission when the vacancy is due to a lack of candidates. It also will give the commission the power to determine whether good cause exists to excuse a commissioner’s failure to attend meetings.

▪ Election procedure: This amendment proposed to remove charter section 105(8), which states that if five or more candidates have qualified for the general election and the number of qualified candidates are later reduced after the qualifying period has ended, then the election will be postponed.

▪ Canvassing Board: The town’s canvassing board will be deleted from the town charter and incorporated into the Chapter 26 of the Town Code, which governs elections.

▪ Qualifying for elected office: The charter will now change the time frame for candidates who qualify for office by submitting petitions.

▪  Runoff elections: The charter will now provide a runoff election for any commission seat if there’s a tie between candidates.

WEST MIAMI

Voters passed five of seven measures:

▪ Qualifications to hold office: There now will be a two-year residency requirement prior to holding office.

▪ Compensation and expenses for commissioners: Commissioners, by a four-fifths vote, will now be able to approve expenses for commission members for travel and/or per diem expenses.

▪ Referendum by petition: When a city ordinance is challenged by petition, the ordinance would “be deemed valid until results from such referendum are certified.”

▪ Recall: Voters will be able to recall a city elected official only after the official has served at least one year in office.

▪ Scheduling: Municipal elections will continue to be held in April of even-numbered years.

Miami Herald staff writer Joey Flechas, and Herald writers Crystal Chew and Rodolfo Roman contributed to this report.

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