Charter Review Commission: Hallandale Beach Will Review The Welfare And The Safety Of The City

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

January 27, 2022

The Hallandale Beach City Charter provides that a Charter Review Commission must be convened every eight years. The Charter Review Committee is made up of seven members and one alternate that are appointed by the City Commission. The Mayor and The Vice Mayor have two appointments. There are no special qualifications to be on the Charter Review Committee other than a member must be a resident of Hallandale Beach.

You can also serve on this board, even if you are on other boards in the City. The duties are to study the existing charter to improve it and provide Preservation Of General Health, Welfare And The Safety Of The City.

The Committee is required to conduct meetings for a six-month period and provide recommendations to the City Commission. The Committee had started its work, but due to COVID-19 the Committee had been delayed. The meetings of this committee are facilitated by Staff. In the past, we had funded a special council to work with the CRC.

Past recommendations included the reorganization of how the Charter Sections are presented, updating of the legal description of the City, a requirement that recommendations by the CRB, be automatically put referendum by a supermajority vote of the Charter Review Board, the directly elected Mayor, the appointment and rotation of the Vice Mayor every two years, Residential Districting, this is where a Commission Candidate must live in a District and is voted on by the entire City, Election Schedules should remain staggered every two years, Salary Increases for the Commission should not take effect until after the next Regular Election and Salary Increases must be capped at the percentage increase of CPI, an Amendment to provide that appointments to a vacancy can be made up to 12 months before the next Election Cycle, rather than conducting a Special Election, Commissioners that miss three consecutive months of meetings would be automatically removed from the Commission, Term Limits, Flexibility and the Reorganization of Departments by not requiring an Ordinance but only at Commission Approval and the ability for the City Manager to expand Franchise Agreements as such.

Not all recommendations make it to the ballot. Some recommendations pass, others fail. The ones that were not included on Past Ballots include: Salary Caps, Residential Districts, Term Limits and Automatic placement of recommendations on the Ballot.

These changes will allow the City Manager to Establish, Alter or Abolish City Departments and The Ability to Extend Franchises without an ordinance proposal that was turned down by the electors. It should be noted that a few years ago upon my request, the City Commission adopted an Ordinance in regard to Salary Increases. The Ordinance provides that Salaries follow General Employees automatically and any changes must be requested and placed as agenda items only during the budget.

The City has already posted notices asking for volunteers for this important Committee and there is still one Vacancy. The City Commission has targeted the April 6th, 2022 Commission Meeting to make appointments and select a facilitator. If you are interested in serving on the Charter Review Committee, I encourage you to visit the City's Web-site At: www.COHB.org and fill out an application. Applications can be found by going to the Department Tab and scroll down to the City Clerk’s Section.

To date, the CRC have discussed this regarding the City Clerk Position. The City Manager is recommending that this position be hired by the Commission. He has a concern that in the past, the City Manager was interfering with the disclosures of certain information. While the City Manager believes that this will remove undue influence, the same could very well happen again, even if the position is hired by the Commission. There are different models for the City Clerk, so certainly this may be changed.

Items that were not agreed to date are the changing of an Elected Mayor Position. The Elected Mayor was put on the Ballot and was passed overwhelmingly. Changing it back in my opinion and the super majority of the CRC agree this would be regressive and not keep with good government practices.

Another item that was discussed was changing how Commissioners are elected back to the old top two vote receivers rather than individual seats. Currently, a Commissioner may not draw a challenger so they would not have to run. This change was not recommended.

Residential Districting will be discussed again. This is where a Candidate must live in a geographical area in the City, but is elected by every voter in the City. I personally believe that this is a good model, as it ensures that a city has broader diversity due to different neighborhoods. Our City has Condos in the East and also has Single-Family Homes in the West. Each has unique issues and needs.

If the Commission agrees on the CRC’s Recommendations, they will be put on the November 2022 Election Ballot.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas to make our City a great place to Live, Work and Play! I Am Available On My Cell/Text At: (954) 632-5700. E-mail Me At: jcooper@cohb.org. Or Visit My Web-site At: www.MayorJoyCooper.com. Or Visit My Facebook Page At: MayorJoyCooper! Like It! Friend It! Share It!