Only two charter questions are on the ballot Nov. 6 in Parkland, but each one is a mouthful with multiple parts.
The first ballot item can change the way the Parkland elected officials fill vacancies on the city commission. The second item deals with redistricting.
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A yes vote passes all items within the question, and a no vote means voters don’t want that issue in its entirety passed.
“I think it’s very confusing for the residents to understand,” acknowledges Mayor Michael Udine, who was one of two on the commission who voted against putting these items on the ballot.
The two items are:
•Presently, the way the city commission fills vacancies on the city commission is to wait until the next general election, whether it’s a federal, state, county or city election as long as the election is within a year. If it’s not within a year, the city holds a special election.
After Commissioner Jay Smith died in July 2011, the special election for his seat wasn’t until January 2012.
This charter amendment allows commissioners to appoint somebody to fill the vacancy until the next regular city election which is held every two years.
“Special elections were very expensive,” said Udine.
But this charter amendment has another element: It allows commissioners within 90 days to appoint anybody they want who lives in the city, rather than making sure the candidate lives in the district he or she represents. The only requirement is the candidate must have lived in the city for at least one year.
The proposed charter change states that if commissioners can’t agree on the appointment, they will draw lots. And if it’s the mayor’s job that is vacant, the charter change allows the vice mayor to fill in until the mayor is appointed. And if the entire commission is removed, the governor can appoint interim commissioners.
•The second charter question has three items within one vote.
The city is divided into four commission districts every four years. Until now, the charter requires the city to get competitive bidding from three consultants to redistrict the city. City officials complained it was sometimes hard to get three responses, so this charter change allows the city to seek two bids.
“Last time we had to get three companies to bid on it and only two companies bid on it so we had to go out to bid again and the same two companies bid on it,” said Commissioner Jared Moskowitz.
And, until now, the consultant had to come up with at least two redistricting plans, but the charter change doesn’t specify the number of alternatives.
The third change within this proposed charter change is to give the public at least 10 days notice of a workshop to pass an ordinance change for redistricting. The workshop – but not the notice – is currently required.
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