Update: Court Upholds County Commission Term Limits


An Appeals Court has reinstated Broward’s term limit law for country commissioners,  thwarting plans for incumbents Ilene Lieberman and John Rodstrom to run for re-election.

“I wasn’t planning to think about his today,” Rodstrom said. “I’ve always enjoyed the job.  I really like coming to work every day.”

Attorney Bill Scherer, a long-time downtown powerbroker and lobbyist, told the Sun-Sentinel today that he would appeal the ruling.  He said well-known Nova Southeastern law professor Bruce Rogow would help him on the appeal.

It is too early to say if Lieberman and Rodstrom’s political careers are over.  But if the decision is affirmed by the Florida Supreme Court, there would be few options available next year for both long-time Broward politicians.


Lieberman: Bye Bye?

This could leave commission seats in Northwest and Central Broward wide open. Although both seats are being redrawn due to the 2010 Census, they are expected to continue to have Democratic majorities.

Lauderhill Commissioner Howard Berger is already running for Lieberman’s seat.  No one is running yet to replace Rodstrom, although he anticipates that changing soon.

“I expect to see people start dipping their oars in the water now,” Rodstrom said.

Lieberman has been in office since 1996.  Rodstrom was first elected to the commission in 1992.

They are veteran city officials — Lieberman was mayor of Lauderhill in the early 1990s and Rodstrom was on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission in the 1980s.

The unanimous decision here by the Fourth District Court of Appeals overturns Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips, who earlier tossed the term limit law out.

Phillips based her ruling on a Florida Supreme Court decision from Jacksonville that forbid term limits for certain county officers.  But appeals justices ruled today that the Jacksonville decision “did not deal with term limits for the board of county commissioners.”

17 Responses to “Update: Court Upholds County Commission Term Limits”

  1. Give Me A Break says:

    EXCELLENT NEWS! They both need to go and we need fresh faces on the county commission…in just 2 years, we will now have 5 new faces AT LEAST!!! Can’t wait for Wexler & Gunzbruger to be gone too.

  2. Safire Bull says:

    So long, farewell, don’t let the door hit you. Thrilled about Jacobs and Lieberman. Maybe Jacobs’ staff can concentrate on doing their jobs now and not their own political careers.

  3. GOPapa says:

    The caviler comment that the seats will remain Democratic is one more reason why people mistrust the county commission. The process is skewed to favor one political party and disenfranchise everyone else.

  4. W. Lewis says:

    Never had a problem with Jacobs or her staff, they do a good job and I like her nonpartisan style. Northeast Broward will be sad to lose her.

    Kristin Jacobs’ final term ends November, 2014.

  5. Back up plan says:

    Rodstrom and Judy Stern always had a back up plan for this day… Rodstrom will run for Mayor of Fort Lauderdale. Both Rodstrom and Stern always resented Seiler for not firing Gretzas immediately after the election.

  6. Floridan says:

    If every politician was like Kristin Jacobs, we would be in a lot better shape. Bob Norman wouldn’t have as much material to work with, though.

  7. in the know says:

    Everyone knows that in the post Jenne years Rodstrom was the top dog male politician in Broward. Yes some of the gals were more powerful and popular but for the boys John was the top dog. The Seiler became Mayor by a huge margin. Seiler is liked and respected unlike Rodstrom where people in town had to deal with his arrogance to get anything done. Seiler gets chatted up as a candidate for Governor while all John is known for now flip flopping on term limits. Charlotte has been the anti vote on everything passed by Seiler in the City. Its all lined up for John to run. Plus there is no other seat that Rodstrom can run for. Remember its more beneficial for Rodstrom’s bond business to remain in office.

    Buddy why dont you give John a call and let him put this all to bed if he is not running?


    I did give John Rodstrom a call and he is quoted in the post. He is undecided at this point, pending a decision by the Florida Supreme Court.

    Your description of Rodstrom as the “top dog” male politician in Broward is way off base. Although he is influential, he is no match to a number of male pols like Al Lamberti.

  8. Michael Lockwood says:

    This is not about any elected official, their agenda or political party. Term limits are good for the government and good for the people. Politicians get entrenched, and their unfair advantage in campaign fundraising keeps otherwise viable candidates at a disadvantage. They also often feel that this is “their seat” instead of the people’s. In Fort Lauderdale, when I was on the Charter Review Board, we initiated the term-limit ordinace, which was eventually passed with 83% of the electorate in favor. Nine years later Mayor Naugle , along with Commissioner’s Moore and Hutchison, who is under indictment for corruption, were term-limited out, and we have a fresh look in the Mayor’s office and commission. It has been good for the city to get fresh blood and new ideas. Co-incidence or not, Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips, who tossed the County term limit law out is the wife of term limited Mayor Jim Naugle. She certainly had a prejudicial bias opposing term limits all along, and it is not surprising the Appeals Court has overturned her biased opinion in this matter. The law stands on its merits and is unlikely to be overturned by any reasonable court. The people have the right to decide to limit the time of service of elected officials in the interest of fairness, good government and the will of the people.

  9. Reason says:

    Why aren’t we cutting the county commissioners salaies by at least half? In fact they shouldn’t get more than $25k for this part-time job. Aslo, hasnt’ it been said that we only need 4-5 commissioners anyway?

  10. watcher says:

    A point that has gone unnoticed is that the 4th District Court of Appeals have been real heroes during the last few years…from holding banks feet to the fire in the foreclosure mess to this latest ruling this bench has slowed the wave of political destruction that years of “money first/selfish” ideology have wrought

  11. hmmm says:

    So John has not come out and said he would not run for Mayor of Fort Lauderdale. John is no dummy he has a back up plan if the term limits stay. Clearly by not commenting he shows that running for Mayor of Fort Lauderdale is an option.

  12. Michael Lockwood says:

    Democracy in our country is at risk, including Broward County. Confidence and trust in government is at an alltime low, as it is with all elected officials.

    One of the main reasons this is true is because of the power of incumbancy and the incredible amount of money they can raise through corporations, wealthy people and special interests they deal with. Politicians become reliant on these campaign contributions to get reelected, and challengers almost always have a strategic handicap in running a viable campaign, no matter how qualified they are. Indeed, a less capable and qualified incumbent almost always can defeat a more qualified and capable challanger who has a smaller campaign account. Indeed hardly can remember an incumbent ever losing in the County or State legislature (The State is in desparate need of term limits, also.). Another reason is these huge campaign accounts raised from such interests opens the door for corruption to creep in. Indeed, in Fort Lauderdale, term limits forced a sitting commissioner out of office before her indictment on corruption charges. Without term limits, she very well would still have been running City Hall.This is not good government, and indeed threatens our democracy. Term limits promote healthy turnover.

    Term limits are also not friendly to polital dynasties. the seat held by an elected official is not “theirs”, but the people’s. Elected officials shouldn’t view their position as a lifetime career, but a temporary opportunity in which they are performing a public service.

    Term limits promote fairness in the election process, restore trust and confidence in government, and open up the opportunity to serve on a grander scale, all of which promotes democracy and enhances the legitimacy of the government itself. That’s why Fort Lauderdale, Broward County and the electorate from all over the country are demanding it.

  13. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    Damned straight, the court did the right thing. After Rodstrom put Scherer up to filing ‘da dang lawsuit in the first place, ‘da damned voters from his district (who resoundingly supported term limits 11 years ago) should have risen up and filed a recall against ‘ol Johnny Boy’s ass! Talk about sticking it in the eye of ‘da voter, you sure did, Johnny Boy, but in the end, good prevailed, didn’t it, son.

    Go run for something else, son, and leave Charlotte alone, so she can think clearly and do the right thing, for all you are about, son, is vindictiveness and mean spiritedness in your votes, and turning your back on ‘da will of your voters.

    How did you con ‘ol Scherer into doing ‘da lawsuit in ‘da first place, Johnny Boy. I wonder, hmmmm…was he lobbying your for something at the time he pulled his purported “concerned citizen” ruse?!

    Good riddance, Johnny Boy…Go do something more genuine and honest, like being a car salesman, used at that….

  14. Smart Move says:

    My problem with term limits is that by the time you get to really know the job, it’s time to leave it. Whether you like some of our senior officials or not, they know the work. If this occurred in the US Senate or Congress, our nation would be in big trouble and the relationships with other country leaders would be diminished significantly. I am much more inclined to reform campaign finance and bolster public confidence in the integrity of officials that way. Term limits in our state alone has caused the loss of too many of our senior statespeople. We could use them now. Voters know when it’s time for someone to go and they act on those feelings.

  15. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    Hey Smart Move,

    I agree with you 1,000 %!! …..BUT the issue was put before the voters and they voted…and if Rodstrom was so concerned about the constitutionality of the damned original vote, he should have challenged it in the year of the vote, not 10,11 years later.

    and that’s the BOTTOM Line, because I say so!!

  16. yo stone cold says:

    isnt scherer involved with the runner up for the courthouse parking garage. the coke plant won and then rodstrom said he wanted to throw the whole selection process out….

  17. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    I want to thank Att.Drew Myers on this matter. He and his staff worked very hard to see this through. So now Att.Sherer wants to take this to the State Supreme court, be my guest we will be waiting for you. The voter took a stand on this issue,a now because a select few did not like the out come, well that how the cookie crubbles. And to John Rodstrom you did a good job as County Comm, on to new adventures. My thoughts are that Mrs.Rodstrom go for a 3rd on the City, and then run for City Of Ft.Lau Mayor. I mean to leap from the City to the county considering her husband only won by 700 some odd votes, I would not bet the rent that she is a shoe-in(county). What ever happened to Mr.Rodstrom w/ the postion at NSU?. Nothing personal against John Rodstrom, but the voters wanted term limits.Lets face it if the President can only run for 2 terms, then why should’nt everyone else have to play by the same set of rules. Again thanks to Att.DRew Myers for his efforts.