Hot Idea For 2017: An Elected Mayor For Broward





A big, big questions facing Broward government in 2017 is this:

Should there be a countywide elected mayor?

If there is a mayor, should it be a strong mayor with considerable clout over government?

Or should the new job be a weak, titular head of government with no real power other than the name “mayor”?

The answers during the next year by the Broward Charter Review Commission will shape the direction of Broward’s government for years.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale business interests want Charter Review commissioners to consider the idea of a mayor.

The business community have been pushing an elected mayor for decades. They rather have one point person they can deal with rather than nine commissioners.

These insiders already have a favorite for the new job if it is created: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.



Jack Seiler: Future county mayor? 



First, the business types have to convince the county’s 19-member Charter Review Commission to place a referendum on the ballot asking voters if they want a mayor.

The county now has a mayor chosen by fellow commissioners. The job description requires the current mayor to do little more than preside over commission meetings, cut ribbons and be lauded by lobbyists at a huge charity dinner in the Fall.

Some influential nabobs want a more substantial mayor, one with real power who could make decisions and steer the county towards the future. They see the nine-member County Commission as a bunch of squabbling, divided politicians only concerned with their districts and unable to make tough decisions.

Another perceived problem is that the current mayor changes every year so there is no continuity.

But even having the Charter Review Commission take baby steps towards establishing an elected mayor won’t be easy.

It requires 10 of the 19 members just to have a full debate on an issue. It requires 13 members to put the proposal on the 2018 ballot for voters to approve or reject.

The Charter Review Commission currently is badly split over whether the county needs an elected mayor and just what powers such a mayor should possess.

Should be mayor be an administrative strong mayor, running portions of county government with the help of professional administrators? The argument for this is that an elected official is more responsive to the public than a non-elected bureaucrat.

Should the mayor have some extra powers, such as the ability to veto actions of the County Commission? Should the mayor be the only elected allowed to place items on the County Commission agenda?

Or should a mayor be a figurehead having no more power than a commissioner?

Before Charter Review commissioners approve a weak mayor option, I’ve got a suggestion. Members should consider Hallandale Beach.

Since the November elections, a coven of three like-minded commissioners has made Joy Cooper’s title of mayor irrelevant.




Joy Cooper: Irrelevant?


When Cooper’s three opponents grabbed control of Hallandale Beach government, the mayor’s job became as useful as tits on a boar. Without the power to control the City Commission, Cooper is just another commissioner…one in the 3-2 minority.

It happened like this:

  • Anti-Cooper Commissioner Michele Lazarow got re-elected.
  • Newcomer Anabelle Taub ousted Cooperite William “Bill” Julian.
  • Commissioner Keith London was reelected and immediately became the leader of the new commission majority.

One of the first acts was to elect London vice mayor. That led one Hallandale Beach observer to quip that, “Hallandale Beach is the only city in the country with a strong Vice Mayor form of government.”

London holds the power now because the Hallandale Beach mayor had no statutory power.  The only real influence comes only if the mayor controls the City Commission.

When Cooper lost that commission majority in the election, the mayor’s post lost its muscle.

Cooper’s fate is a lesson to the Broward Charter Review Commission.

Nothing would be accomplished by establishing an elected countywide mayor without extra powers spelled out in law. A mayor without such defined special duties would be a token, still subject to the mercurial whims and self-interest of commissioners.

There is simply no value in even talking about a mayor that is merely an inconsequential nonentity.




20 Responses to “Hot Idea For 2017: An Elected Mayor For Broward”

  1. Talks like a politician says:

    “A mayor without such defined special duties would be a token, still subject to the mercurial whims and self-interest of commissioners.”

    Sorry to steal your words, but they most accurately describe a former elected mayor with an honorary title who left Dania Beach to run for office in Fort Lauderdale. Videos online of past commission meetings in Dania Beach are evidence of that mayor’s self-interest and total disregard for his fellow commissioners.

    The tough part for voters is that so many politicians are loyal to their own mercurial whims and have their own personal agendas. When a strong mayor is more concerned about his/her personal agenda, the community suffers.

  2. Broward Needs a Mayor says:

    Broward does need a mayor. It need not be a strong mayor or a week mayor but perhaps a compromise. And it should not be Jack Seiler who is too conservative, a bully to those who disagree with him, and too busy with his law practice to give his elected position the attention it deserves. There are many great leaders in Broward who could fill this position and provide the leadership this County deserves.

  3. Charles King says:

    Ha! Just what Broward County needs to address its endemic and ongoing crisis of public corruption, create a “strong mayor” office with the help of lobbyists stooges on the Charter Review Board for career politician “Crooked” Jack Seiler to step into the vacuum. This would certainly solve “Crooked” Jack’s problem of what uncontested political office “Jack” could go after next. Since the Presidential electoral results came rolling in, a leftwing Florida Democrat whether in a plaid shirt or not winning at the state level is looking like a real longshot for a sure thing front runner like “Crooked” Jack Seiler to attempt. At the Federal level there is always real competition and “Jack” is facing terms limits for Fort Lauderdale mayor on March 13th of 2018. The County is increasingly looking like the landing spot for this political creature of Broward’s undrained swamp. A countywide mayoral district would get “Crooked” Jack out of serious competition with Broward’s only incumbent Broward Republican County Commissioner Chip LaMarca in whose district he lives in and would allow his insider big business cronies the opportunity to pave the way for the sellout messiah they have been waiting for to repackage and sell all the bad things voters keep turning down when given a chance in referendums.

    What transpired down in Hallandale Beach where Hallandale Beach Commissioner Keith London led a successful citywide anticorruption campaign against the Seiler-like Mayor Joy Cooper to throw the bums out is a testament to the people of Broward County that they still have the power and should resist any referendum to strengthen and empower career politicians like Fort Lauderdale’s “Crooked” Jack Seiler.

  4. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Sorry, Buddy, I’m not voting for any referendum to give any actual power to any Mayor McSleaze.

  5. aol@aolCOS says:

    the choice for mayor is clearly scott israel. the real leader of the democrats

  6. Sober as a Judge says:

    Long overdue.

    With 2 million people, Broward needs a full-time, executive mayor to run the county with the assistance of a professional staff.

    We also need a County Commission with at least 11 members so there’s enough members to serve on oversight bodies and ensure diverse representation on the county level.

    Large cities with less population have had this for years. Broward is behind the eight ball because we refuse to accept facts. We cannot effectively effectively run a county of 2 million people with the same basic construct used when we were 100,000 people.

    One size does not and cannot fit all. It just won’t work and we are losing ground needlessly because we have refused to act for silly and sometimes thinly disguised, not to mention selfish, political reasons.

  7. rightwing says:

    if scott Israel becomes mayor, its time to charter cher’s spaceship to Jupiter.

  8. A reader says:

    @ Sober as a judge:

    OMG, a County Commission with at least 11 members??? Do you realize that almost all of the land in Broward County lies within city boundaries via an annexation process that dragged on for years?

    Broward County would do just fine with 5 members. Most of the responsibility of the county is with the airport and the seaport. “Staff” handles the details of those entities. The cities can take care of the rest of the business of running themselves. The state also is responsible for many issues including taxes and regulations.

    The County Commissioners no longer represent large numbers of people in unincorporated areas. The people now reside in cities. Those people depend on their city’s commissioners issues germane to them.

  9. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Really if Charlie King has evidence of cruption why hasnt gone to any legal authorities? Are we to read baseless vague charge endlessly?

  10. Real Deal says:

    8. Let me help you understand. It has nothing to do with what land remains unincorporated. The county does regional land use, environmental protection, human services, the port and airport, county records, many things that no city does or in some cases can do.

    If there is an executive mayor then you need to have oversight committees because, well, that’s how grown up communities do business in America. They get better government in return and a lot more attention paid to them in their state and national capitals.

    The least important thing the county ever did was serve as “city” for unincorporated areas. Least important of all their duties was that.

  11. rob us blind says:

    I recall Broward used to have elected at large members and there were more of them.
    Buddy would know for certain as it changed in the 1980’s to districts with the charter amendments.

    20 of the 67 counties in FL have charters. a county mayor would be an important individual with few checks and balances. Not sure Broward could handle that with all the ethic challenges they try to subvert since we voted on the ethics rule awhile back.

  12. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Real Deal gives a good basic primer on why there has to be a large County Government. But a strong Mayor is how large counties are run.

  13. A reader says:

    @ Real Deal

    Airport: agreed
    Seaport: agreed

    You lost me at regional land use and environmental protection. The high density housing that has lead to unbearable traffic and the non existence of adequate public transportation is a perfect example of inept, shortsighted county commissioners. Think how even more people on the dais could muck things up.

    As for environmental protection, do you mean blowing up reef structures that support the marine life that supports a huge sport fishing business so more cheap goods from China can be off loaded here? Or maybe you mean destroying acres of mangroves to build more container space at the port. Or maybe you mean issuing more and more building permits so our precious water supply can be sucked up and residents are told to conserve water while tourists flush it down millions of toilets.

    Environmental protection in Broward died a long time ago.

  14. Richard J Kaplan says:

    There are numerous types of Mayors with powers that could be considered:

    1) Rotating Weak Mayor – like the County has now;

    2) Direct Elected Weak Mayor – many cities have one of these:
    a) Serves as Chair and Parliamentarian, special additional powers as provided by the State and Federal Government
    b) Plus, doesn’t vote except in case of a tie, with or without veto power

    3) Direct Elected Strong Mayor – Acts as City Manager, runs day to day operations and directs staff, may or may not attend Commission Meetings but doesn’t run them, and has veto power. Plantation and Miami-Dade County has.

    4) Direct Elected Executive Mayor – Hires and fires the City Manager and doesn’t run the day to day operations nor can direct most staff, but does proposes the budget to the Commission, may or may not attend Commission Meetings but doesn’t run them. Being the Mayor can fire the City Manager, the City Manager works closely with the Mayor. I believe the City of Miami has this.

    Under any scenario, who can put items on the Agenda is an option, i.e., Mayor, City Manager, and Commissioners.

    There is no perfect system. Each has pluses and minuses. The trust factor seems to be the most important element. Do you trust your elected leaders? That’s the $64000 question.

  15. Zowie says:

    Do you trust your elected leaders? That’s the $64000 question.

    To put it another way, have the actions of our elected leaders (e.g. ramming a new courthouse down voters’ throats) earned our trust, or led us to be suspicious of giving them even more power to do the bidding of special interests?

  16. Broward Voter says:

    Sounds like a good deal for the Downtown Gang if they can get their buddy Seiler elected.

    But there’s a snag.

    If the mayor is elected the same way that the County Commissioners are, there will be a partisan primary in August and a General Election in November. Considering how overwhelmingly Democratic the county’s electorate is, it is a safe bet that whoever wins the Democratic Primary will easily win the General Election. In a competitive, multi-candidate primary, you can bet that at least one of the candidates will get someone to run as a write-in, ensuring that only Democrats will get to vote in the primary.

    Who would win a closed Democratic primary between Jack Seiler, Scott Israel, and Dale Holness?


    Looking at the 2020 election from today’s viewpoint — always hard to do. — I would answer your question easily. Scott Israel.

  17. Richard J Kaplan says:

    Need to clarify:

    in 2)b) Mayors typically vote, but in some cases, they don’t except in case of a tie.

    In 4) Mayors also get veto power.

  18. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    If we get a good man for County Mayor fine idea. If we get a crumbbum it will be a lousey idea.

  19. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Not so fast w/ Scott Israel. Jack Seiler would give him a real run for his money. My bet would be w/ Seiler. Although i don’t think Mayor Seiler is th e least bit interested.Atty.Gen, and or Us Senate when the astornaunt retires. Will see. Charlie King if i ever spoke about the Mayor th e way u do, i think he’d punch right in the face. See when i battle w/ anyone i have merit, facts proof. U your like th e girl at the dance who doesn’t get asked to boogie. U get mad. Wash up, exercise ,be nice ,dress to impress and then u approach….

  20. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    “Downtown” wanted two half penny taxes – we know how sucessful they were on that.