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Audrey Edmonson unveils new committee slate for Miami-Dade commission


Audrey Edmonson picked a mix of liberals and conservatives for her leadership team as the new chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Commission. Three of her fellow Democrats didn't make the cut for committee chairmanships, or for seats on the powerful policy council that Edmonson will run as a clearinghouse for legislation on the environment, transit, affordable housing and other areas she identified as priorities during his two years as chairwoman. 

Committee chairs are considered plum assignments, since they can give commissioners that hold them elevated roles in the legislative process and advantages in fundraising from lobbyists and contractors with business before the panels. 

The 13-seat county board is a non-partisan body, so party affiliations have no official role in the chambers. But both parties got involved in commission elections last year, particularly in the District 5 race that tipped the majority to Democrats with the win by Eileen Higgins.

On Tuesday, Edmonson's office released a memo laying out the new committee structure and leadership.

Dennis Moss will lead the Housing and Social Services Committee, with jurisdiction over public housing, homeless services, programs for the elderly, etc.

Edmonson's predecessor as board chairman, Esteban "Steve' Bovo, will lead Transportation and Finance, which will mostly focus on transit but also includes areas dealing with county borrowing and budgeting.

Rebeca Sosa, a former board chairwoman who is now vice-chair under Edmonson, will lead Tourism & Ports, a committee overseeing Miami International Airport and Port Miami.

Barbara Jordan will lead Infrastructure and Capital Improvements, a committee that will oversee water and sewer projects and the county's resiliency programs.

Sally Heyman will lead Health Care and County Operations, which includes emergency management, elections, purchasing and construction.

Joe Martinez, a former county police officer seen as a possible candidate for Miami-Dade sheriff in 2024, will lead the committee overseeing police and jails: Public Safety and Rehabilitation.

Javier Souto will lead the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs committee. 

Edmonson also will continue with a committee created by Bovo two years that gave him a central role in major legislation. That is now the Chairwoman's Policy Council, and it is made up of the seven committee chairs. Edmonson serves as chairwoman of the council. With eight votes, any item passed unanimously by the council goes before the full board with majority support. It's split evenly between Republicans (Bovo, Sosa, Martinez, Souto) and Democrats (Edmonson, Heyman, Jordan and Moss). 

Edmonson also named Higgins to be chair of a subcommittee assigned to Communities Disparities, an umbrella term for divides when it comes to income, public safety, poverty and housing. The Communities Disparities subcommittee reports to the Chairwoman's Policy Council.  

Read the memo here