Public Input Submitted Before June 27

Charter Review Committee Input from Public

Submitted by Stephanie Kienzle, for the June 18, 2008 meeting

Dear Committee,

I will be unable to attend the public meeting on June 18, 2008, but I would like to put the following suggestions to the committee for consideration:

1. Article III, Sec. 16 (3): Change our election date to coincide with that of the county to November. I feel that this will save the city a tremendous amount of money.

2. Article V. Sec. 22: Increase terms of office from two (2) to four (4) years. It is my opinion that a term of two years is not enough time to accomplish the goals of individual council members, especially when the better part of the second year in office is potentially taken up by campaigning for the next election. If we had a four year term, the residents can expect that for at least three of those years a council member will be serving the best interests of the city and not his or her own political aspirations.

On a lighter note, you may wish to consider removing Article IV. Powers, Sec. 21. Enumerated Powers. (6), which states that the City has the power:

(6) To prevent the running at large of cattle, horses, hogs, sheep, goats and other livestock as well as dogs or fowl and other animals or birds, on the streets of the city or within the city limits, and to impound the same and provide for their disposition.

Unless, of course, the committee feels that we need to be protected from the herds of livestock that are running rampant in our city. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist this one.)

Thanks for your consideration.

Stephanie Kienzle

1653 NE 178 Street

NMB, FL 33162


Submitted by Mary Hilton on June 17, 2008 clarifying submission by: John Petroske

Good Afternoon Keven,

The attachment sent to you by John Petroske contained some errors when he retyped it below is the letter sent out by the Board of Directors of the NMB Civic Association to the membership June 11th.

The big standout was the $7,000 in his item 9.

Regards, Mary

A Public Hearing on NMB Charter Changes will be held on Wednesday, June 18th at 7 p.m. at City Hall 17011 NE 19th Avenue. Your ideas and suggestions for change are imperative. Please try to attend. For those of you that absolutely cannot attend you can email the Charter Review Committee at [email protected] or fax to 305-957-3602, hand deliver to the City Clerks Office first floor of City Hall.

Some items we would like to hear your thoughts on:

Term limits: Staggered terms, number of years e.g., 2-4 year terms then out after 8 years or 2 year terms for the mayor where the mayor runs in every election and staggered terms or 4 years for council members. A maximum of 8 years total then out for good.
At Large and District elections: Similar to County
Changing the election date to November a significant cost savings presently approximately $70,000 to $100,000 changing to November $8,000 to $10,000 presidential/governor elections dates.
Should their be a one or two year residency requirement for all candidates seeking a position on the City Council?
Should council members be allowed to make bids with the City of NMB for City contracts for the sale or purchase or property, or the performance of services, as shall be let pursuant to sealed bids and advertising? Do you see a conflict of interest here? The present Charter allows this type of dealing.
Should alternates be allowed on all Charter created Boards example Planning and Zoning? Should members of these boards have Term Limits?
Do we need 3 full time attorneys instead of having attorneys on retainer? Presently 1 full time Attorney with a salary and benefits totaling $242605, and 2 fulltime Assistant Attorneys 1 at a cost to taxpayers of $202,675 and 1 at a cost to taxpayers of $195,215. (Pension and Health care costs go on for the rest of their lives.)
Should the Charter include language on ethics and a Citizens Bill of Rights?
Presently the Charter specifies that "no expenditure in excess of $75,000 for any one capital improvement unless included in the annual budget. Should this be changed to a percentage of the budget? Should it be updated to reflect current state law and fiscal realities?
Should their be language included in the charter to protect our constitutional right to petition our government presently the rules have been changed by the Council to limit and make more difficult the petitioning process.
Should Health and dental Insurance for Council Members for life be removed by adding language to the charter?
Should CRA moneys be limited in the amount the City can borrow?
Should language be added to the charter to ban lobbyist contributions to Council Members for anyone appearing before the council as a representative for someone seeking variances or other special issues for a one-year period?
Should there be a ban on anyone on the City’s payroll or having a contract with the City from contributing to the campaigns of anyone on the Council for a one-year period prior to their contract or after their contract terminates?


Submitted by John Petroske on June 17, 2008

In regards to Public Hearing on June 18, 2008 for the following questions on the NMB City Charter changes: (Ref. items by number. See attached letter.)

Yes
Yes
In principle no. I worked for the Miami Dade County Elections board for many years and feel, due to my experience, that the City questions and candidate would be buried under all the County and National questions in November. I also don’t believe the City would save that much money. In sum, I feel the quality of City of NMB results would suffer.
Yes 5 years or more
Absolutely not. Big window for corruption, and unnecessary spending.
Yes and yes
Absolutely not. Retainer is good enough for large corporation.
Absolutely yes.
Maybe. There definitely needs to be limitations. This is a residential city, founded and settled by homeowners with families or for retirement. Should not be trying to be a “Reno,” biggest little city in Dade County.”
Again absolutely yes. How does Council change rules of Charter. If they are, they shouldn’t have that power. Charter should require Public Hearing and notification by mail, and a vote by residents.
Absolutely yes. Way extravagant. Council members are supposed to be residents who are already successful and have proven abilities and want to serve the city residents who vote them in; not to make their fortune or for power.
What is CRA? But sounds like something that can increase city debt. If so, yes.
Yes. Council members have no business being involved with lobbyists at all (see Number 11.)
Yes, for same reason

Regards,

John Petroske

1545 NE 174 Street

North Miami Beach, Fl 33162


- 2 -

Items attached to letter from North Miami Beach Civic Association

June 2008

Term Limits: Staggered terms, number of years e.g., 2-4 year terms then out after 8 Years or 2 year terms for the mayor where the mayor runs in every election and staggered terms or 4 years for council members. A maximum of 8 years total then out for good.
At Large and District Elections: Similar to County
Changing the election date to November, a significant cost savings presently approximately $70,000 to $100,000 changing to November $8,000 to $10,000 presidential//governor elections dates.
Should there be a one or two year residency requirement for all candidates seeking a position on the City Council?
Should council members be allowed to make bids with the City of NMB for City contracts for the sale or purchase of property, or the performance of services, shall be let pursuant to sealed bids and advertising? Do you see a conflict of interest here? The present Charter allows this type of dealing.
Should alternates be allowed on all Charter created boards, example, Planning and Zoning? Should members of these boards have Term Limits?
Do we need 3 full time attorneys with a salary and benefits totaling $242,605, and 2 full-time Assistant Attorneys: one at a cost to taxpayers of $202,675, and one at a cost to taxpayers of $195,215. (Pension and health care costs for the rest of their lives.)
Should the Charter include language on ethics and a Citizens Bill of Rights?
Presently the Charter specifies that “no expenditure in excess of $7,000 for any one capital improvement unless included in the annual budget. Should this be changed to a percentage of the budget? Should it be updated to reflect current state law and fiscal realities?
Should there be language included in the charter to protect our Constitutional right to petition our government. Presently the rules have been changed by the Council to limit and make more difficult the petitioning process.
Should health and dental insurance for Council members for life be removed by adding language to the charter?
Should CRA moneys be limited to the amount the City can borrow?
Should language be added to the charter to ban lobbyist contributions to Council members for anyone appearing before the council as a representative for someone seeking variances, or other special issues for a one year period?
Should there be a ban on anyone on the City’s payroll or having a contract with the City from contributing to the campaigns of anyone on the Council for a one year period prior to their contract or after their contract terminates?

-submitted by Larry Kramer on June 19, 2008

I feel that political contributions should have a limit. A campaign should not be about how many signs one could afford to pollute our city. Many debates or meet the candidate forums should be planned for each community, so that each community can be addressed as well as the city as a whole.

I also feel that candidates should not accept contributions from companies. That can promote a pattern of favoritism or pay back to a company for the contribution. Contributions from lobbyist should also be seen as unacceptable, due to the same reasons stated above.

Larry Kramer
3407 NE 168 Street
NMB FL. 33160

Submitted by Brian Rook on June 20, 2008

TERM LIMITS

. Unlike England and others which operate a parliamentary form of government, the United States operates our Republic with set terms of office for many of our elected officials. Term limits date back to those ancient civilizations, the Greek and Roman Empires. Term limits are common in Latin America and our most densely populated states. Modern term limits may be divided into two broad categories: consecutive and lifetime.

With consecutive term limits, a legislator is limited to serving a given number of years in a particular office. Upon hitting the limit in one office, say as a state Senator, the same legislator is allowed to run for election in another office, such as a state Representative. Then upon hitting the limit in that office, the clock resets itself, and the legislator may run for election to his/her original seat and serve up to the limit again. As such this category is infinite in nature.

With lifetime limits once a legislator has served up to the limit, she/he may never again run for election to that office. This category has gained favor over the former.

In Florida, term limits effectively started in 2000, limiting our state Senators and Representatives. The Florida term limits law was passed in 1992 via an initiative and it passed with 77% of the vote.

Several years ago a citizen initiated petition gathered 1,776 signatures’ to get term limits on the ballot in NMB, but failed to pass the County Elections Division level due to signature differences between original voter registration copy and the corresponding signature on the petition. The rejection rate was over 25% higher than national averages.

Our City Charter is due for an overhaul. The needs are obvious and to turn a sows’ ear into a silk purse will be a challenge. We see newer municipalities incorporate term limits into their charters. We need only look as far as Avenuentura or Sunny Isles to see this.

First, concerning term limits, my proposal would extend the term of Mayor and Councilperson to 4 years with two terms {consecutive or non-consecutive} for Councilperson. The position of Mayor would be limited to one 4 year term. Thus, one person could serve 12 years maximum.

Second, I would like to propose the City election be held in November for four reasons:

1. May voter turnout has been historically dismal, quite pathetic in fact.

2. The City would save $50,000 to $70,000 to coincide with County, State, and National elections which always brings more voters to the polls. It’s a fact that voters turn out to vote in an inverse proportion to vote in elections which affects them most.

3. Election Day is nationally recognized. Falling on November 4th, a Tuesday this year, also employers tend to wink when employees arrive late, take a longer lunch hour, or leave early to fulfill their civic duty.

4. The clutter of campaign signs would only be an eyesore in the fall of an election year.


The change of election date ought to coincide with gubernatorial elections with our next being Nov., 2011. In order to attain this goal we need to understand that the next city election in May, 2009 would extend the new officeholders term from 2 to 2 and ½ years to get our elections synchronized with the state.

To be fair to all in the City and officeholders in the 2011 election year, a compromise is required. Looking down the road to 2011 we have no way of knowing who will be the sitting Mayor and Council at that time.

I know there are with many combinations to ease the 4YT and the 2TC+1TM into "play." No compromise will please all, its human nature, its axiomatic.

I foresee those in office longest, if they have already served more than 12 years would be ineligible to run in 2011. Those in office with more than 8 years but less than 12 years would be eligible to run in 2011. From this point on the 2 terms on council and 1 as Mayor maximum would kick in and everything would work like a clockwork orange.

IF TIME ALLOWS

o End health and dental insurance once an officeholder has been out of office 6 months as corporations do. The current system is fallout from an antiquated "Old Boy" machine and vastly unfair to the taxpayers. The current insurance packages enjoyed by Mayor, Council, and Department. Heads is too extravagant by far if were cutting services to the public, a more realistic policy needs to be put in place and co-payments, by law, must be paid by the individual and NOT sneaked into an expense account.

o There should be no provision for a pension for former officeholders. These elected positions are not jobs in the conventional sense.

o Expense / Travel accounts must be accountable and subject to review by an independent source every 4 years to adjust for inflation or deflation.

o No one ought to be exempt from random drug testing, from the Mayor right on down to even part-time employees. PLEASE NOTE: The City of North Miami Beach is a public entity subject to Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes concerning public records. Email messages are covered under such laws and thus subject to disclosure. All email sent and received is captured by our servers and kept as public record.


Submitted by Maris Hayden on June 26, 2008

To: Charter Review Committee

City of North Miami Beach, FL

From: Marise Hayden

16415 NE 32 Avenue

North Miami Beach, FL

Date: June 26, 2008

Re: Charter Amendment Input

1. Two (2) year terms for Mayor and Council members, and a maximum of eight (8) years served.

Two (2) year residency required for candidates. No lifetime dental and health plan for Council.

2. All elections to be held in November.

3. Council and Board members, officers, and employees should not be allowed to make bids.

No conflict of interest allowed.

4. Term limits for Board members.

5. One (1) full time attorney, and outside legal council services only as needed. Pension

and health care provided for years of service for the 1 full time attorney.

6. Charter should include language on ethics and a Citizen’s Bill of Rights. It should also protect

our constitutional right to petition our government. Council and Board members should be held

accountable for upholding their oath of office, and not obfuscate or obstruct the laws as written.

There should be a permanent Oversight Committee to review the City Charter and Ordinances on

regular basis. The committee shall accept complaints and recommendations from the citizenry for

consideration, deliberation, and action.

7. Charter should be updated to reflect current State laws and fiscal realities in regards to expenditures.

8. Limit CRA money to amount City can borrow.

9. Ban lobbyist’s contributions to Council members. Our elected officials should not be representing

outside interests. They are supposed to be impartial representatives of the citizenry.

10. Ban contributions from City contractors.

11. Any employee taking a City car home must live in the city.

12. Emergency personnel should live within the city limits.


Submitted by Mubarak Kazan on June 27, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like the issues listed below, to be taken into consideration and addressed for the Charter Review for the City Of North Miami Beach:

1) City elections should be held in November to coincide with the general elections.

Reason: This will get more people involved. The cost will be shared with the state and county.


2) Candidates should be at least one year resident of our city to be allowed to run for elections. Be a registered NMB voter for at least 12 months.

Reason: So they will be familiar with our city and its issues and stop fly by night politicians "dropping by" and abuse our system.


3) Candidates should submit three proof of residency- utility bills, rental agreement or proof of property ownership, valid Florida ID card with NMB address AND voter's card with NMB registration of at least twelve months.

4) Term limits:
The Council seat - Term limits should be a maximum of 2) Four-year terms. The office should be straddled. Three council seats up for elections every two years.
The Mayor seat should be up for elections every two years, up to a maximum of 4) two year term.
Any Councilperson having served the 8-year maximum of continuous service must vacate the position for at least 1) four-year term before running for office again.
Any Mayor having served a maximum of 4)two year terms, must vacate the position for at least 1) two-year term before running for office again.

5) Any candidate running for office or elected official who was found guilty of misdemeanor charges or more severe charges, or pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges or more severe charges, will be disqualified as a candidate or council member respectively. Fifty years prior to the qualifying period, any candidate or incumbent, found guilty or plead guilty of misdemeanor charges or more severe charges will be disqualified as a candidate or council person for office. Any elected official found guilty of misdemeanor charges or more severe charges should be removed from office immediately. No "grandfather" provisions should be entertained.

Presently the council and city is harboring an individual who embezzled, forged and or otherwise advertised he had several academic qualifications, neither of which is true. This shows the incompetency on the part of the individual for making proper decisions and judgment that will be beneficial for the city and its residents.

6) All elected officials should be given a handbook on the Sunshine laws.

They have no excuse not to follow the laws.

7) Elected officials should remain and live in the city no less than 90% of the time, every year. They should submit their passports as proof of stay. A sworn disclosure of travels is required.

Some officials may live out of the country most of the time. They return just in time to attend council meetings, soon thereafter, they leave the city to take up residence in another part of the world. This does not serve the people's interest well.

8) Grant dollars garnered by our elected officials, should be used to fund NMB city projects and programs.

Some elected officials may garner grant dollars or other monetary inducements, but none of it comes to our city.

9) There should be a proper financial background check on elected officials upon gaining office and this be repeated every year.

This would ensure we can see if they amass any sudden fortune that can come from bribery and corruption.


10) Elected officials should be exempted from the CRA board.

This can contribute to corruption. They may be tempted make back room deals.


11) Every trip, made by an elected official, city employee, or person acting on behalf of the city, paid by the city taxpayers should be well-documented and reported by the elected official, city employee or person acting on behalf of the city. Any request for traveling must be approved by the City manager, financial director and the Mayor. The signed approval required from these three individuals must be attained prior to requesting city funding. Documentation will be required prior to leaving/before and after the trip, stating its importance and how it will or benefitted the City residents. These trips should also be advertised and placed on the city's website. Expenses incurred by any spouse or significant other whilst accompanying an elected official on the same trip, has to be paid for by the elected official out of his or her own pockets, and it cannot be re-imbursed.

Visiting an automobile factory in Detroit or the Magic Kingdom of Disney world has nothing to do with our city. Presently there is an abuse of city funds for city officials excessive travels.
If spending exceeds the pre-approved travel budget for that person, excess payment will be charged to the employee including the elected officials as an out-of-pocket expense. the City will not pay any excess beyond the alloted amount given.

12) A city manager, city clerk and city attorney should be hired for two years with their performance review due every two years. Public discussions should be held if the council will terminate his/her contract prematurely. The term should be one year before and one year after elections.

13) A charter review should be held at least every three years and last no longer than six months.

14) Any spending in excess of $100 or $250 must be approved by the City manager, the mayor plus one councilperson with the required forms filled out completely and signed by the City manager, Financial Director and the Mayor.

15) Campaign Sign ordinance to be revised and limit candidates to 4) large signs no greater than 32 square feet.

16) City-owned cell phone invoices should have all telephone activity itemized monthly.

17) Insurance for life should be reviewed. Our city cannot afford these give aways anymore.
Health Insurance benefits should cease upon leaving or termination of office or employment. For council members who are vested, their years of service should be taken into consideration.

18) Schedule and unschedule speakers should be allowed 6 minutes of speaking time per appearance.

Many residents have to wait weeks or months to share issues of concerns with their elected officials together. Sunshine laws prevent any two or more council members from meeting and discussing issues, therefore a resident cannot meet more than one councilmember to share his or her concern. The resident deserves the time to be heard. Those council members who do not have the time to listen and address residents concerns, should resign from their seats and allow those who will spend the time to serve their city residents well.

19) Disrespectful signs, plaques, wall ornaments and other dispicable memorabilia should not be allowed to decorate our public buildings.

Presently one council member have a sign decorating the wall of the room the individual currently occupies temporarily at City Hall, with an insulting plaque. The initials of our city is taken out of context to spell out a deregatory remark. It is very hypocritical for us to have this rum shop, brawling bar room sign hanging in our city chambers and having a "pledge of civility" implemented at council meetings. I do not see anything civil about this disrespectful sign. It should be removed immediately. Should anyone use this expletive term to describe council, it would be considered uncivil. We need to set a certain level of decency and decorum to be practised and council members should not be allowed to express their vileness in public.

Hopefully we can have a charter everyone can respect. The charter review committee should be unbiased in their decision making and not be hampered or incited by our elected officials or special interests groups with hidden agendas. Should the charter review do a proper job, they will still be complimented two years after the production is completed.

May God guide us all to do the right things.


Regards,

Mubarak Kazan
Resident of North Miami Beach
15564 NE 12th Avenue


Submitted by Keven R. Klopp on June 27, 2008

Dear Charter Review Committee Members:

Please allow me to respectfully suggest that you forward to the Mayor and City Council a recommendation that the Charter be amended to prohibit elected officials from participating in Advisory Board, Committee, and Commission meetings.

A deeper analysis of this matter will be necessary since their are numerous such boards, with varying roles and responsibilities. Obviously an elected official's participation in a zoning matter before the Planning and Zoning Board would be improper. If the elected official did not favor the application, his/her input would influence the Board. The Board's recommendation would in turn influence the City Council. The "liaison's" negative impact on the applicant's property rights in such a case is unethically compounded, if not illegal.

The exclusion from the Planning and Zoning Board has been honored by the City Council for as long as I can remember. On the other hand, it has NOT been honored, for example, on the Public Utilities Commission, the Redevelopment Advisory Board, or the Commission on the Status of Women (which has an appropriation in the budget). Decisions about how the funds appropriated to the COSW, and numerous other "special interest" committees, are being influenced and often times mandated by the Council "liaison" to that committee. This is a relic of old-style "Commission" form of governance in which elected officials are tasked with managing certain sectors of the municipal operations. It weakens and threatens the Council-Manager form and function.

The relatively new Redevelopment Advisory Board, the role of which ought to be further defined by an ordinance, was put in place to give a "smell test" to redevelopment incentive agreements before such agreements appear before the City Council. Over the coming years, the RAB is hopefully going to advise the City Council on redevelopment projects worth hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. No one "liaison" should get two bites at those apples. The Charter needs to prevent the political manipulations of wealth.

The Public Utility Commission has had wonderful results with the $100 million water plant expansion about which it advised the City Council over the years. The long-term positive impact of that program is absolutely something about which the City can and should be proud. Some might say the leadership of the "liaison" to that Commission assured its success. The Charter Review Committee should at least consider the possibility that a strong Public Utilities Director and City Manager could have guided the Public Utility Commission to the same success. Such an arrangement would have avoided the "smell test" concerns that permeated that matter over the years. I do not know if such concerns had validity or not - what is in the past is moot - but the future is your responsibility.

I attempted to set the proper arrangement in place for the Redevelopment Advisory Board. The results were different than I had in mind. Maybe the Charter Review Committee will fair better.

Regards,

Keven R. Klopp