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Miami-Dade voters reject term limits, salary hike for county commissioners

Skeptical Miami-Dade voters rejected a key county charter amendment Tuesday, refusing once again to give county commissioners a hefty pay raise in exchange for term limits.

Voters did, however, approve a measure intended to make it easier for citizens to place charter-amendment initiatives on the county ballot by doubling the number of days to collect petition signatures.

The split results on the two charter amendments — one passing, one failing — reflected some support from a disenchanted Miami-Dade electorate for overhauling county government. Yet deep distrust remains about any move that would raise commissioners’ pay; it was the 13th time in five decades that voters rejected a proposed salary hike.

About 58 percent of voters supported the petition-initiative measure, the county reported. Fifty-four percent opposed the salary and term limits proposal.

All voters, regardless of party affiliation, could cast ballots in the charter election, though the presidential primary contest mostly drew Republicans to the polls. Some voters left the charter questions blank. Of the 161,600 Miami-Dade residents who participated in Tuesday’s election, about 148,700 voted on the charter questions.

The defeat of the salary and term-limits measure was the latest in a string of failed charter-reform attempts since a task force four years ago proposed a slew of changes to the Home Rule charter that governs county government. A restive electorate, unhappy with business as usual at County Hall, has repeatedly viewed the proposals as poorly written or too weak.

“There was just too much ambivalence about these amendments,” said Victor Diaz, a Miami Beach lawyer who chaired the 2008 Charter Review Task Force and supported both proposals.

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