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.”