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FAQ

What exactly would this charter amendment for mayor do?

The revised charter would separate executive and legislative powers between the City's elected officials. The mayor would take on the day-to-day executive powers currently assigned to the city manager, while the Commission would remain as the legislative body for the city and continue to have the power to pass or repeal ordinances, raise or lower taxes, appropriate funds, and administer the assets of the City. With this arrangement, the Commission would provide important checks and balances to the executive functions of the mayor.

What do the terms "executive" and "strong" mayor mean?

There are many variations, but the terms are usually meant as follows:
 - an "executive" mayor in the City of Miami does not vote as part of the City Commission, has very defined executive responsibilities, and performs all ceremonial duties as head of the government.
 - a "strong" mayor is the chief executive of a city and is allowed to directly supervise the city staff, hire and fire personnel, solve problems affecting residents more efficiently, and provide a greater degree of accountability and transparency for city residents.

When will the "Strong Mayor" vote take place?

Once the petitions are collected and certified, the City Commission must set a date for the election, which should coincide with the regularly scheduled general election on November 6, 2018.

Does switching to a strong mayor give too much power to one person?

No. On the contrary, it transfers the power currently held by the appointed city manager as "head of the administrative branch" to an elected person.
Currently, the city manager reports to both the mayor and the Commission, but is not elected by Miami residents. He or she is responsible for the administration of all units of the City government and for carrying out policies adopted by the Commission. The city manager also has the authority to exercise control over all departments and divisions, as well as to appoint and remove all directors and all subordinate officers and employees in the City departments.
Although some may argue that the City Commission can hold an unelected city manager accountable, this system leads to instability, uncertainty and provides for frequent turnover in the position. For example, for the last 20 years there have been 15 managers, with each manager having an average tenure of a little over a year.
So while Commission oversight may sound ideal, the reality is that rule-by-committee is usually indecisive, can create instability and can allow power vacuums to develop. A strong mayor would have the people’s support behind him or her and will be accountable to City residents directly. The mayor is elected citywide and not by districts as the City Commissioners are, which allows the mayor to put forward a vision for Miami that takes into account and balances the needs of all Commission districts. 

In addition, with the new recall provisions included in this charter reform, for the first time in history, the people of Miami will have the power to remove the mayor through a recall election should the mayor prove incapable of meeting his or her responsibilities.

Why should this reorganization occur?

For greater accountability, transparency, and more voter choice with a single elected mayor, the people of Miami will be able to select an individual who can advance a clear citywide vision and have the day-to-day responsibility for making that vision a reality.

Can I read the revised charter?

Yes. The proposed revised charter can be found by clicking here

What is the ballot language and who wrote it?

The ballot language will not be drafted until sufficient signatures on the petition are verified. When that happens, you will be able to see the ballot here.

What will the salary of the strong mayor be?

The compensation for the mayor will be 75% of the salary of the Miami-Dade County mayor

Who will set the salary of all other city employees?

The mayor will work with department directors and other members of the staff to set appropriate compensation amounts for City employees. Final decision-making will rest with the mayor and the approval by the Commission of the annual budget for the City of Miami.

Who will raise or cut taxes?

The City Commission.

Will there be checks and balances?

The mayor will continue to have veto authority over any legislative, quasi-judicial, zoning, master plan or land use decision of the City Commission, including the budget or any particular component contained therein. The Commission has the power to override any vetoes with a four-fifths' vote.

What options are available if the voters decide the mayor is doing a poor job?

The voters are empowered to choose a new mayor every four years. In addition, this charter amendment will introduce for the first time in the City of Miami a recall provision that will give residents the power to recall their elected officials by collecting petitions. If the necessary number of certified petitions is reached, the people can call a special election to recall the mayor or any of the City Commissioners.

Who makes the financial decisions?

The proposed charter follows the model of "separation of powers," in which the legislative branch handles the finances and the executive branch handles the daily operations. The mayor will propose a budget each year, while the City Commission sets the tax rates and passes the final budget. The city's property and assets are the responsibility of the Commission. The mayor can't buy or sell property without Commission approval, but he or she has veto power over actions of the City Commission pertaining to the disposition of real property.

Procurement continues to be governed by the same processes in place today. The mayor would have no more authority over procurement than the city manager does currently.

A mayor cannot spend more than what has been authorized annually by the City Commission. A mayor could spend less than what is in the budget.

What process is being used to present this proposed amendment?

The committee Miamians for an Independent and Accountable Mayor's Initiative (Strong MIAMI) has created a proposed charter amendment and we are required to collect and certify petitions from 10% of the city’s registered voters.

Who funded this effort and why?

The MIAMI committee is raising funds from residents and businesses in the City of Miami to pay for this effort and to cover the costs of the public information outreach campaign. All of the Committee's finances are reported monthly. You can check the reports by clicking here.