Some Commissioners Fed Up With Elections Chief







It was Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes’ turn in the barrel this week.

Snipes got grilled – her word for the 30-minute cross-examination was “bullied” – by Broward County Commissioner Mark Bogen on Tuesday.

Like a prosecutor questioning a murderer, Bogen started out something like this: “Would you agree the most important thing for any supervisor is to run efficient and impartial elections?”

It went downhill from there for Snipes.

Ostensibly, Bogen complained about the Elections Office lawyer Burnadette Norris-Weeks. The attorney has been making campaign contributions and doing other political work.

That’s outrageous! Any official of the elections office is supposed to be neutral and detached.

But there was a subtext to Bogen’s attack. Commissioners, sick of the inefficiency and inept management of elections, clearly are sick of Snipes.

She has lost what appears to be a significant slice of her County Commission support. Maybe the bulk of it.


Brenda Snipes

Brenda Snipes



Her inadequacies are legend:

* Long lines at the polls in 2012 forced several to remain open for hours after they were due to close.

* Voters complained about delays during early voting, poorly trained poll workers and the location of precincts.

* Snipes has been criticized for doing too little to encourage more people to registered and vote.

* There has been a delay of more than a decade in opening a new election’s office.

Commissioners won’t say much of this publicly because of politics:

Its politically incorrect to attack one of the few black office holders in Broward.

Perhaps more important, Democrats – eight of the nine commissioners  — fear they would be alienating their base in the African American and Caribbean American community if they publicly condemn Snipes.

With a secure base in the largely white condominiums of North Broward, Bogen has no such qualms about publicly pointing out Snipes failings.

Although he claimed his interrogation was “not personal,” it doesn’t take a skilled observer to see that Bogen is still smarting over his treatment in the last election.

Bogen was embroiled in a long lawsuit over the validity of a write-in candidate in his District 2 race. Snipes did nothing to resolve the situation. In fact, Bogan believes Snipes’ office threw roadblocks in his way.

There is hope on the County Commission that after shellacking she received from Bogen, Snipes shouldn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. One commissioner told that they hoped she would reconsider and not run for re-election next year.

If she left, some commissioners want a referendum to change the supervisor from an elected to appointed office.

Will Snipes to take the hint? Only she knows for sure.

This one is for sure:

There are some important, influential folks in the Government Center who clearly want Snipes to just go away…and some of them sit on the County Commission.


Bogen’s questioning of Snipes can be seen here:

Bogen versus Snipes 





26 Responses to “Some Commissioners Fed Up With Elections Chief”

  1. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    # 1 Comm.Bogen was 100% right. Comm.Stacey Ritter was 100% right as well. Dr.snipes gets someone to run against her I feel strongly that she will be defeated. Her office spends way to much money on staff etc and not enough emphasis is directed to getting people to vote in the county.. I was waiting for you to run this Buddy.. Lets hear what everyone else has to say. Be prepared Dr.Snipes this won’t be pretty….


    David Brown, a Hollywood-based novelty business owner and political consultant, is planning on running against Snipes.

  2. Wayne Arnold says:

    It appears that all of this backstabbing of Election’s Chief Brenda Snipes could be a ploy by some commissioners to make her job an appointed position. I do favor the Supervisor of Elections in all of Florida’s 67 counties being a non-partisan elected position. That would take a lot of the party politics out of the election’s office. The politicians with all their huff and puff will I am confident be unable to unseat Brenda Snipes. If the power bloc in the county commission continues after pushing for an appointed supervisor of elections they might look to further their power base and control by selling the Broward County voters on the need to also have an elected Property Appraiser, Clerk of the Court and even a so called “public safety director instead of an elected Sheriff. The Sheriff is the most powerful constitutional office holder in in all Florida Counties except Miami/Dade. I don’t think any Florida Sheriff in his right mind would want to give up that authority to become a figure head for the county commission. Only time will tell.


    It’s the age old argument — elected versus appointed.

    Should cities be run by an elected mayor who is accountable to voters? Or should they be run by a professional city manager accountable only to five votes on the city commission? Both have worked in some Broward cities very well. Both have been utter failures in other cities?

    Miami-Dade’s sheriff department — called the Miami Dade Police Department — works pretty well, although the chief law enforcement officer is appointed. Yet, during Hurricane Andrews — I covered this — the Miami Dade department was unresponsive to many complaints and requests from the public. I believe its because the chief law enforcement officer is isolated from the public because he doesn’t have to run for office.

    Clerk of the Courts’ name spells out what the elected official does — clerk. Chief clerk. That function should be appointed like the other paper shufflers in county government, but by who? The judges? The Bar? The county commission, which foots the bill for the courthouses?

    Property Appraiser needs to be elected. It is a conflict for an appraiser, who values our property, to appointed by the same people who tax our property, the County Commission.

    And so on…..

  3. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    The commissioners reflect the informed public. We are tired of her excuses and need a candidate in 2016 to replace her. Buddy summed it up pretty good. I would have clarified that her resources were poorly distributed on electionday. Some precincts have 3 or 4 voters registered and some had over 4000. Campaign managers knew beforehand where all the lines were going to be. It was the same polling stations that have the long lines year after year.
    I might also have added she has not kept up with the times. Candidates are still required to mail checks to her office as she still doesn’t have an online method for people to purchase the information candidates need.
    Her office is sloppy, she recently posted Sheriff Israel’s username and password on her website. It wasn’t corrected until a concerned citizen, or sometimes known as a pain in the a.. Notified her, and emailed the sheriff campaign team to request a new password. She didn’t even remove a convicted felon Scott Rothstein from the voter list.
    In 2008 Dr. Snipes Blatantly abused her powers. She had her opponent arrested for simply asking questions about a meeting being cancelled. Great Video on you tube watch and decide yourself and the story’s detail The charges were later dropped. Bogen wasn’t a bully he was stating facts. Dr. Snipes was clearly a Bully in 2008.
    Hopefully there will be a good candidate in 2016 to run against her.

  4. norman price says:

    Mark Bogen is a new county commissioner and has the audacity to criticize Dr. Snipes who I had the pleasure of working for her until I retired. Bogen should do some checking out his accusations before making accusations. Interesting back ground you have
    This was from the Sun Sentinel

    He’s running for Broward County Commission, but he just moved here two months ago.

    He wants to oversee a $4 billion budget, but his own financial history includes a bankruptcy and federal tax liens.

  5. Talks like a politician says:

    It is a scary thought that the SOE be an appointed position considering who would be doing the appointing. However, the thought of having Snipes win the position again in an election is also scary. Broward County is once again in a dilemma.
    And, please can we grow up and look at qualifications and performance instead of race?

  6. Buddy says:

    Thank you to the readers who pointed out that I misspelled Bogen several times in the post.
    I believe I corrected them, but if I didn’t I’m sure you will let me know. You are the best copy editors!

  7. Chaz Satan says:

    I thought it was just BroLove for Brogan.

  8. Warren Johnson says:

    Brenda Snipes seems to have no problems making sure that her name appears prominently on everything that is printed by her office.

    If she showed the same dedication to her other duties, there would be no problem.

  9. Sober As a Judge says:

    It’s a stretch to begin with that the elections supervior is elected at all much less on a partisan basis and then has staff working campaigns. I just see that as a conflict and a problem and am disappointed at her for allowing tha on her staff. When you work in elections you need to stay away from any appearance that you’re rooting for any official over another.

  10. Kevin Hill says:

    Florida’s way of electing and appointing county, state, school, and court personnel is a mish-mash of methods that have been added across time and that can vary from county to county (and even within counties). It needs to be rationalized when the Constitution Revision Commission meets next.

    Some examples:

    1. All School Boards are elected in non-partisan elections (used to be partisan until 1998 constitutional change). But some are single-member districts, some are at-large, and some like Broward are mixed.

    2. Add to this an absurdity: each school district has the option of having either an elected or appointed Superintendent (the majority of counties still have an elected Super, though about 75% of students go to schools in districts with a Super appointed by the board). But here’s the weird thing: the elected Supers are elected in PARTISAN elections with primaries and everything. So in the majority of counties, you have non-partisan school boards with partisan elected Supers that they cannot fire.

    3. Judicial districts elect State Attorneys and Public Defenders on a partisan basis and judges on a non-partisan basis. The SAs and PDs are up for election in Presidential years, except for southwest Florida (the 20th Judicial circuit) which is up for election in Governor election years. ??????????

    4. In charter counties, county ordinances trump city ordinances. In non-charter counties (the great majority of counties in Florida, though mostly small) the OPPOSITE happens. ??????

    5. Each county must have a Supervisor of Elections, a Property Appraiser, a Clerk of the Court (who, by the way, is ALSO the ex officio clerk of the County Commission, next to the “real” one), a Sheriff, and a Tax Collector. By default these are elected positions except when the voters choose to have them appointed. So we elect all these in Broward EXCEPT for the Tax Collector. Some counties even add a separately-elected or appointed Comptroller.

    6. There are still a few special taxing districts (usually drainage districts) where votes are weighted by the amount of property one owns, and there are a few of these districts where Corporations actually get to vote in elections.

    7. Tell me what the Lt. Governor does?

    8. Some cities have elected City Clerks.

    9. I have not even addressed the Constitutional exceptions for Miami-Dade, Monroe, Duval, and Hillsborough.

    I think it’s time for some rationalization.


  11. Give credit where credit is due says:

    While I would have never spent $400k to get on the BCC, Bogen is a breath of fresh air.

    It is nice to see someone on the Commission who is not bought and paid for by the lobbyists. Mark is someone who attained professional and financial success as an attorney. What does this mean, it is obvious he does not need the $100k a year to live off of and he doesn’t make every move in consideration of not having that money to live off of if he pisses off the wrong people.

    Unlike the other Commissioners with law licenses, Kiar, Ryan and Ritter, Bogen is an actual trial lawyer who cuts through the BS to get the answers the public deserves.

    I heard there were certain black leaders in Bogen’s District that tried to dissuade him about questioning Snipes and Norris-Weeks saying Bogen would be branded a racist if he did so.

    Good for Bogen to have the courage to call the bluff of these so called black leaders and call on Snipes to be a leader in ethics and rein in Norris Weeks.

  12. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Strong mayors manage large governments with the assistance of professional staff who form an executive branch answerable to a legislative body that provides ample checks and balances. That is the standard form of government for larger cities and counties.

    There are exceptions, but if you look at the list of America’s most poplated places– Broward is the nation’s 17th largest county — few have our set up of 32 cities, no elected CEO, and a county government with so huge a budget, all of it nearly entirelyt operatiing under council/manager forms of government.

    Broward needs to understand that we are a large place now with complex needs and diminishing political clout. Part of the reason is we don’t have an elected leader. It hurts us governmentally and economically.

    20 years ago Miami-Dade County had the same governing structure we have today. In Broward, they were considered a laughing stock. Nobody laughs at Miami-Dade County anymore. They are serious people today, in part because they got their governmental act together.

    We’d be wise to follow suit. We’d be smart to fix that problem and evolve as other large communities have done.

    Last point, I’m a believer in doing best pratice reviews and hope the newly formed Couonty Charter Commission shares that intellectual curiosity or their time as a committee will be less effective than it could have been.

    Broward County has become a huge community of nearly 2 mullion people. We cannot continue being well governed by the structures we used when the county was 100,000 people. Yet that’s what we have. It’s past time that we grew up and took the steps necessary to align our strutures of government with the inevitable tasks of managing a community this large and complex.



    A little background here:

    Roughly 15 years ago, there was a referendum on creating a countywide elected mayor form of government for Broward. The County Commission — largely led on this issue by Commissioner Ilene Lieberman — proposed an alternative to expand the County Commission with no mayor. The subtext was that commissioners were worried that then Sheriff Ken Jenne would run and win any mayor’s position that was created. They wanted to block Jenne.

    So public policy was formed because of a political grudge match.

    Lieberman had an ally in political consultant Dan Lewis — they were friendly back then — who ran a campaign that helped defeat the strong mayor referendum and substitute the commission expansion.

  13. count lf chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:



    Does anybody read newspapers anymore, Count?

  14. Norman Price is an Idiot says:

    Bogen should do some checking before making accusations? Well I just checked the SOE website and Bogen is 100% right.. Burnadette has been donating to candidates while also advising the SOE and litigating on behalf of the SOE. Snipes is completely inept, would’ve never been appointed if it weren’t for the Oliphant debacle, and she needs to go ASAP! You are an idiot Norman Price if you really think she’s good at her job.

  15. zigy says:

    buddy be honest how much is there to d read in the papers anymore, what 2 reporters at most. when u were there the paper was worth scaning now its all in the blog, but I do miss the ink stains and the smell of fresh new3sprint. lol

  16. Newspaper? says:

    Count – What’s this “newspaper” thing you’re talking about?

  17. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Doesn’t matter how they try to fix Broward. Nothing will work until they get rid of the corrupt cabal that controls everything to the detriment of the regular people who pay the taxes.

    Look at the history of the corruption and the lack of accountability unless the Feds get involved.

    And I do fondly remember reading the morning Miami Herald back when it was a real newspaper. All of them are literally gone with the wind.

  18. Chaz says:

    The Sheriff said. In the last election he had problems with Snipes too and agrees she should be booted out or not run. Amy Rose the Sheriff’s Campaign Manager…said Snipes has no clue how to run the office and she behind the scenes want her gone.


    Please remember this is an unproven allegation from a person who did not give a real name. My guess is the sheriff has more to worry about than the election office.

  19. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    FOR THE RECORD: Mr. Nevins was 100% correct that the SUN SENTINEL would “take a dive” on the “Fire House Swap” by taking out of the story (and which WAS INCLUDED IN THE SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS JOURNAL STORY) the basic fact that the Fire Chiefs opposed it and that the fire house in question was built only in 2004 by a public bond issue. That is on the editors of the SUN SENTINEL as their ignorant habit of referring people named Mr. x y z III or x y z as “Mr. z III” or leaving out comments from the public in accounts of Fort Lauderdale City Commission meetings although included in the blog postings.
    THAT ALL BEING SAID, the “obvious omission” in our local newspaper’s coverage, that does not mean newspapers as a proposition isn’t VITAL because

    1). electronic input by reporters and blogs are NOT USUALLY EDITED OR FACT CHECKED,
    2). electronic material can be altered, and interesting example of this is in an “INSPECTOR MORSE” Episode where Robbie Lewis, then a Det Sgt gets Inspector Morse out of jail by going to the handcopy records of the “Oxford Mail” in the city library to prove the accounts in the electronic records have been falsified!

    I have always thought besides the classic Roman and Greek Historians including Josephus, the Duc de La Rochefoucald’s “Maxims”, the Diaries of the Duc de St. Simon, and of course “The Last Hurrah”, people commenting on American politics should be required to not only read great books but also the t.v. serious “YES, MINISTER”, and “YES PRIME MINISTER” and “FAWLTY TOWERS” which will give them a solid, deep, and broad understanding why government repeatedly fails and why the Press and Media in generally normally fails us on political and governmental questions.

  20. @Buddy re: David Brown says:

    What’s this “novelty business” that David Brown is the owner of all about?

    Does he sell hand-joy buzzers, squirting flowers, red noses and big shoes to clowns?

    Whoopie cushions?

    Or is it jokes and gags that he sells?


    I guess I might have written “advertising novelties” — pads, sponges, pens, stationery, pencils, calendars, toys, etc. with the name of an advertiser embossed. Advertising novelties are given away by merchants and others to their customers and prospective customers. In the case of a campaign, it is the name of a candidate plastered across whatever novelty is being given away at campaign stops.

    I have never seen Brown give away any buzzers, squirting flowers or Whoopie cushions.

  21. Count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    Once again miss greenbarg hits the target with two bukkseyes. The newspapers do little research into influence peddling nepotism and corruption while the public elects people who at best are time servers and at worst unjailed crooks. A supervisor of elections should be not just an administrator but technically knowledgeable and fincially skilled such people end up in the private sector which pays better and has no yettas or bloggers

  22. Oh No! says:

    The last thing this County needs is someone like David Brown in that office, can you say Miriam Oliphant

  23. One Who Knows says:

    True, David Brown would not be an improvement; but that is not saying much. Snipes has become a Junior Oliphant… paranoid, incompetent and self-serving. She blames others for every failure. And yes, “Norm Price is an idiot” you are absolutely right!

  24. Knows for Sure says:

    Those of us who regularly need to obtain voter data from the SOE’s office are fiscally raked over the coals for this data every time.

    For a CD containing county-wide data, we pay $275.00 a pop!

    Miami-Dade county, for a CD of county-wide data is just $20. bucks (not a typo) even though there are more voters in Miami-Dade.

    Why the disparity?

    This is just another financial obstacle that contributes to good candidates being priced out of running for office in Broward.

    I know for sure that Brenda Snipes needs to go.

  25. Knows for Sure says:

    As for David Brown running for Supervisor of Elections?


    I know for sure that David Brown lies whenever it benefits him.

    He will go out of his way to hurt someone if it is to his advantage.

    David Brown is all about David Brown.

    He is the furthest thing from an honorable man as they come.

    BTW, don’t give him too much credit as a “businessman”. He works out of his house…..a house on North Lake in Hollywood largely provided by his wife who happens to be a Dentist.

  26. wait till 2016 elections says:

    we sure could use Jane Carroll.