Planning For A Brighter Future: Hallandale Beach Charter Review Is Making Progressive Changes

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

April 28, 2022

In 2019, the Charter Review Committee of our City started meeting. The Committee is established by Charter to meet every 8 years to evaluate our Charter for revisions they deem suitable to improve our city. They review the Chartered positions, Elections and other items that will update how our City is Governed. They typically have 6 months to work and propose changes but due to the Pandemic the meetings were postponed. The Commission reconvened in 2021 with the Committee to conclude their work. Two members could not recommit so two new members were appointed.

While these changes are deemed desirable by the Committee, the Commission still has the final authority to place them on the ballot by a majority vote. Last week, the City Attorney submitted a copy of the recommendations to our Commission for review. To date, there were 11 suggested changes. I am writing this article as a gauge to see what our Hallandale Beach Residents think about the proposals. Readers can also find out more on our Web-Site.

The first was a general suggestion to change all pronouns to: They/Them/Their which was brought forth by a Commissioner. This has become a new concept to adapt our language to address gender identity. Basically, since the 90’s the push to expand reference to he and she to include recognizing the identity of LGBTQIA.

The next change was to Section 3.04 of the Charter to clarify the duties of the Mayor. Our City operates under what is referred to as a Council-Manager form of Government. The super majority of Mayors in Broward County are elected directly and act as the ceremonial head of the Government. There are very few cities like Dania Beach that are appointed. There is also a Strong Mayoral Government where the Mayor runs day to day operations, Weak Mayoral Government, where the Mayor runs day to day and appoints all of the staff. Typically they only have tie breaking or veto powers over the Commission and Commission Government where the Mayor serves as presiding officer and spokesperson, but every member of the Commission is assigned: Operational Duty/Duties. The change is clarifying the: as spokesperson relay official public communications.

The next proposed change is to Section 3.06 General Powers of the Commission. It is to require that the Commission shall host Town Hall Listening Sessions. I personally try to host Town Halls but not all of the Commissioners do. The language is: the Commission shall host at least one meeting per year as a Town Hall Listening Session, to be held in each of the East and West sides of the City, not at City Hall, for a total of at least two Town Hall Listening Sessions annually.

The next change is to Section 3.07 to address conflicts over dual office holding. In the Charter, it states that the Mayor/Commissioners cannot hold any Hallandale Beach Office, employment or other elected public office during their term.
The language clarifies that these exempt offices deem ex-office. This paragraph shall not apply to positions designated as ex-office appointed by the Commission.

The next change addresses absences of the Mayor/Commissioners. In the past, there had been issues with Commissioners with prolonged illness and those that do not attend all of the meetings. The language clarifies forfeiture of office. It will apply when a member misses 6 consecutive meetings or 10 meetings over a 12-month period. It also clarifies that remote attendance is permissible only if there are unforeseeable and exigent circumstances or documented illness. The language also establishes a process to appeal the decision by the Commission to remove the absent member. (I did not include all of the language in order to save space in this publication.)

The next is to address Vacancy of the Mayor and how open seats will be appointed. In general, it provides for the Vice Mayor to serve as Mayor and the Commission to appoint someone to the Vacant Seat. What it clarifies is when the Mayor comes back that the person serving is placed back in their seat and the appointed person is removed. It also clarifies that once the Vice Mayor is in the Mayor’s seat there must be an appointment of a Vice Mayor by a vote from the Commission.

The next change is to Amend the Commissions’ ability to appoint a Special Auditor without a competitive bidding process. Originally, the Commission could simply request a Special Audit and appoint an Auditor. That language was changed to: shall select the Auditor in accordance with the requirements of Florida Law.

Next week, I will continue to review changes to the City Manager, City Attorney and City Clerk Sections of our Charter.

I am proud to announce and invite our readers to attend my State of the City Address that is being presented by the Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. Reservations are required. Thank you, Gulfstream, for being the title Sponsor and hosting lunch in The Flamingo Room. Lunch reservations are $30 for Members and $40 for Non-Members. Thank you also to the Sponsors; Realtors Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie, Memorial Healthcare System, Shutts and Hallandale Beach. Please contact the Chamber At: (954) 454-0514. Visit their Web-Site: https://hallandalebeachchamber.org/ Or E-mail them At: info@hallandalebaechchmber.org.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas on how to make our City a great place to live, work and play! I am available by Phone or Text At: (954) 632-5700. E-mail me At: jcooper@cohb.org. Or visit my Facebook & Web-site At: www.MayorJoyCooper.com