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Efforts for special Miami-Dade meeting fizzle

A bid to call a specially scheduled meeting on Tuesday of the Miami-Dade County Commission, to reconsider proposals aimed at amending the county’s charter, has fizzled. The reason: Only three of the 12 commissioners agreed. Seven are needed to call such a meeting.

But a new effort is afoot for commissioners to gather on Thursday.

County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez asked colleagues to meet Tuesday in order to kill two of the six proposed amendments that are set to go before voters in a May 24 referendum. The two proposals he wants nixed: a 12-year term limit for commissioners starting next year, and ending the strong-mayor form of government, returning to a system where commissioners exert more control.

Both ideas have been met with criticism since commissioners approved them last week after a historic recall vote ousted Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas. Critics say the proposals don’t go far enough or are simply a bad idea. Gimenez, who voted against both measures last week, is seeking an 8-year term limit.

Yet, as Gimenez’s call for a meeting didn’t win support, Commissioner Bruno Barreiro sent a memo Monday to fellow commissioners seeking a Thursday meeting to consider killing all six proposals and then creating a task force to produce a slate of recommended charter changes. Among the four other amendments set for a May 24 county-wide vote, which have largely received a positive response: making petition drives easier by eliminating the requirement that signatures be individually notarized and enshrining the Inspector General’s office in the charter.

Barreiro said reforms to the county charter — Miami-Dade’s constitution — shouldn’t be done hastily and should be presented to voters in a general election, when turnout is higher.

But such an election won’t happen until next year, raising concerns that a delay could kill any reform efforts.

--MIAMI HERALD STAFF

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