MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Should Miami-Dade Commissioners be full-time employees of the county?

That’s just one of two charter amendment questions which all voters in the county can cast their ballots on in Tuesday’s election.

Under the Home Rule Charter change, anyone elected to the commission would devote their full attention to the county and not be able to hold an outside job. Currently, commissioners are paid a nominal annual salary of $6,000; an amount was established in 1957. If the change is approved, the salary would be based on a state formula and adjusted annually. Under this new formula, a commissioner would currently make a little more than $92,000. Also, the charter amendment would limit a commissioner to two consecutive four year terms in office.

The other amendment increases the time allowed to circulate initiatory petitions from 60 to 120 days. The measure would also allow charter changes to be scheduled for the next general election instead of a special election which must be between 60 and 120 days after the petitions are certified. The change would be a big cost saver to the county.

A new poll of voters likely to take part in the January 31st primary shows a plan to raise the pay of Miami-Dade commissioners by tying it to term limits may be in trouble, with supporters and opponents in a virtual dead heat.

The poll, conducted for CBS4, the Miami Herald, and Univision, shows that those supporting and opposing the term limit/pay hike charter amendment are tied at 41% each, with 18% of the voters undecided.

Anglo voters tend to favor the plan slightly, with 44% saying they’d vote for it, while 42% of Hispanic voters say they’d vote it down. Both groups have just under 20% who have yet to make up their mind.

According to those who said they’d vote for the amendment, that is important, with 33% saying no outside employment is their key reason for voting yes. 22% said they agree with term limits, and 14% simply saying they agree with the amendment.

For those who say they’d vote no, a whopping 43% said they believe commissioners simply don’t deserve a pay raise. 17% said they don’t believe the amendment will fix anything.

In contrast, the second charter amendment, which doubles the time allowed to circulate petitions for charter change to 120 days, appears headed to likely victory. 45% of those questioned said they would support it, with 32% opposed. However, a large number of voters — 23% — have yet to make up their mind.

37% of the supporters said they think petitions should have more time, but 13% said they would vote for it to eliminate the need for special elections. 33% of those against it thought exactly the opposite, the petitions did NOT need more time, but a full 10% said they were voting no because they didn’t understand what the measure was about.


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