Referendum 3: Strong mayor

Here’s the language for a proposal to change the structure of the City of Miami’s government by introducing a strong mayor:

Shall the Miami Charter be amended to change to a strong mayor-commission form of government; replace city manager with the mayor; mayor serves as non-voting, non-member commission chair; grant mayor power to appoint and remove city attorney, city clerk, police and fire chief, department directors and employees; change filling mayoral vacancy and pay formula; adopt state recall procedure; provide other mayoral and commission powers and changes; and make effective immediately?

Mayor Francis Suarez is asking voters to change the City of Miami’s structure from a “mayor–city commission” to “strong mayor–city commission” form of government.

So here’s what that change basically means: Right now the mayor is mostly a figurehead who doesn’t vote on legislation but has veto power. Under the proposed change, the mayor will become the chief administrator for the city and the city manager position will be eliminated.

Mayor Suarez will be able to plan the budget, and hire and fire positions like the city attorney, and the police and fire chiefs. (Two local examples: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez are both strong mayors.)

Suarez said the plan is a way to give residents a chance to elect the top decision maker in the city. The decision even lead to a lawsuit from Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo over the process for getting the referendum on the ballot and concerns that the change would give Suarez too much power.

If you vote yes, you’re supporting City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez becoming a strong mayor and eliminating the city manager position.

If you vote no, you’re supporting the City of Miami keeping its current form of government.