North Miami - NMB

North Miami Beach denies Councilman Frantz Pierre’s request to repay legal fees

North Miami Beach Councilman Frantz Pierre.
North Miami Beach Councilman Frantz Pierre.

The North Miami Beach City Council met Tuesday, June 16.

The main item

North Miami Beach’s city council chose to deny repayment of about $4,500 in legal fees to Councilman Frantz Pierre.

Pierre, who did not vote on the item, asked the city to repay his attorney’s fees for lawsuits in 2009 and 2012. The fees were $3,500 and $4,585, respectively.

City attorney Jose Smith said the city could not pay back the fees for the 2009 lawsuit in which Pierre sued Kenneth DeFillipo, a potential opponent for his council seat, and questioned his candidacy. Smith wrote, in a written response, that Pierre had a right to file the lawsuit as a candidate but it was not part of his role as a councilman.

“Filing the lawsuit was not part of your official duties, was not in defense of any alleged wrongdoing, and was not sanctioned by the City Council as serving a public purpose,” Smith said in his written response.

Other business

▪ Signs and seals: The council passed two ordinances to tweak language in the NMB code related to banner signs and use of the city’s seal. The change will eliminate a $200 bond requirement for people who want to apply to use a temporary or banner sign on their property.

Council members Phyllis Smith and Barbara Kramer expressed concern about the amount of time the signs could be placed at businesses. Temporary event signs can be placed up to 60 days before an event and up to three times a year. Banner signs, which are to later be replaced by permanent business signs, can be placed for up to 90 days and up to twice a year. Staff said they will address some of those concerns before the council’s second vote on the item.

Additionally, the council allowed an easier process for governmental entities and non-profits to use the city’s seal. The city manager will have the ability to approve those uses and any proposed commercial use will be voted on by the council.

▪ Solid waste collection: The city approved an ordinance that will prevent solid waste providers from applying for a business tax receipt to collect garbage for commercial customers in North Miami Beach. The city will be the only provider of solid waste collection for commercial customers.

Staff members said a task force found that companies were allowed to carry out the practice but that it contradicted the city’s code as written.

Smith and Councilwoman Beth Speigel said the companies needed more notification about the change and the fact that they would be violating city code if they seek the tax receipts in the future. Staff said the ordinance was only “phase one” of the changes they want to make and they plan to provide additional information before the second vote on the item in July.

▪ Charter review committee: The city passed an ordinance and resolution to clarify and establish the duties of its charter review committee and to end the board, as it’s currently set up, by July 1. The new ad hoc board will then operate until June 2016 and be comprised of seven members who will be appointed by the council.

They said it

“There is absolutely no doubt that he cared, and there is absolutely no doubt that he will be missed.” — Mayor George Vallejo, on the death of community activist and Washington Park resident, Darrell “Tree” Thompson.

Residents can call the city clerk’s office for more information on Thompson’s services at 305-787-6001.

The next meeting

▪ When: 7:30 p.m., July 7.

▪ Where: North Miami Beach City Hall, 17011 NE 19th Ave., North Miami Beach.