Should Miami Beach Mayor’s Term Increase from two to four years?

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Should Miami Beach Mayor’s Term Increase from two to four years?:

Ballot measure would also increase term limit

Among the six questions on the ballot for Miami Beach voters this year is one that would increase the Mayor’s term from two to four years as well as increase the term limits from six years to eight. Opinions on the measure are mixed. Just putting the question on the ballot split the Mayor and Commissioners 4-3 when it was discussed in July. 
Ballot question #1: Effective with City’s November 2021 General Election, shall Charter Sections 2.01 and 2.02 be amended to:
--Increase Mayor’s term from two to four years;
--Change Mayor’s term limit from three two-year terms to two four-year terms;
--Retain Charter’s retroactive measurement and calculation provisions;
--Prohibit persons from serving as Mayor for more than eight years (period including years previously served as Mayor), except to complete a term, one-half of which has been served?
Note: The last bullet point means former mayors who served six years would be eligible to run again with an increase in the term limit.
Key points from the Commission discussion of whether to place the question on the ballot, included the following:
  • Avoid the “constant campaign mode” which distracts from the day-to-day business. 
  • Completing goals and priorities in two years is difficult; a four-year term gives more time to accomplish them. 
  • If not happy with a sitting Commission, every other year voters can elect a new majority. Commission terms are four years and are staggered with three Commission seats up every two years. With the mayoral term being two years, four members of the Commission are elected each election cycle, thus allowing a complete turn in a majority of the full commission. Changing the election cycle would mean a Commission could only turn every four years.
  • The current two-year term increases turnout for the Commission races on the ballot and a four-year term would negatively impact the races in the off-years when the Mayor isn’t at the top of the ballot.

Finally, there was an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” theme. 
The vote to put the question on the ballot was 4-3 with Mayor Dan Gelber, Commissioners Joy Malakoff, John Alemán, and Ricky Arriola in favor. Commissioners Micky Steinberg, Mark Samuelian, and Michael Góngora voted no.
Opposing the referendum: Residents group Miami Beach United based on the argument above about the ability to change the City’s elected leadership every two years as the term currently stands. Also, the group noted in a recent newsletter, “The Mayor has greater sway than other Commissioners over the decisions made by the City Commission, so it is appropriate that the Mayor’s term should be shorter than that of other Commissioners and that he/she should be subject to reelection or replacement more frequently than the other Commissioners.”

Should Miami Beach Increase the annual compensation of the Mayor and City Commissioners?

Susan Askew
Susan Askew
After narrowly losing last summer, measure is back again

Election 2019: Miami Beach Ballot Question 6

Susan Askew
Susan Askew
Floor area ratio increase to incentivize office uses along Washington Avenue and Alton Road