1 CHARTER GOVERNMENT Clerk Buddy Irby (Alachua) Clerk Bob Inzer (Leon) Clerk Barry Baker, (Suwannee) Susan Churuti, Esq. (Bryant Miller Olive)
2 The Florida Constitution In 1821 Andrew Jackson issues first ordinance, dividing state into two counties. In 1868, Governor appoints all county officers, including treasurer. In 1885, counties are formed, amended or abolished by legislature as subdivisions of the State. In 1968, the electors of Florida granted local voters the power to adopt charters to govern their counties. Dillon s Rule is replaced by Home Rule. Dillon s Rule all local government has only those powers which are specifically granted by the State. Home Rule is currently found in Art. VIII, section 1(g).
3 The Constitution Art. VIII, section 1(g) provides: Counties operating under county charters shall have all powers of local self-government not inconsistent with general law, or with special law approved by vote of the electors. The governing body of a county operating under a charter may enact county ordinances not inconsistent with general law. The charter shall provide which shall prevail in the event of conflict between county and municipal ordinances. (emphasis added)
4 What is Charter Government Article VIII, section (1)(d) provides: (d) COUNTY OFFICERS. There shall be elected by the electors of each county, for terms of four years, a sheriff, a tax collector, a property appraiser, a supervisor of elections, and a clerk of the circuit court; except, when provided by county charter or special law approved by vote of the electors of the county, any county officer may be chosen in another manner therein specified, or any county office may be abolished when all the duties of the office prescribed by general law are transferred to another office. When not otherwise provided by county charter or special law approved by vote of the electors, the clerk of the circuit court shall be ex officio clerk of the board of county commissioners, auditor, recorder and custodian of all county funds. (emphasis added)
5 The Constitution Art. V section 16. Clerks of the Circuit Courts. There shall be in each county a clerk of the circuit court who shall be selected pursuant to the provisions of Article VIII section 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of the constitution, the duties of the clerk of the circuit court may be divided by special or general law between two officers, one serving as clerk of court and one serving as ex officio clerk of the board of county commissioners, auditor, recorder, and custodian of all county funds. There may be a clerk of the county court if authorized by general or special law Constitutional convention in 2018.
6 What is Charter Government
7 What is Charter Government Charters are formal written documents that confer powers, duties, or privileges on the county. They resemble state or federal constitutions and they must be approved, along with any amendments, by the voters of a county. Charter government was designed to remove the resolution of local problems from the state legislature's busy agenda and to grant the county electorate greater control over their regional affairs.
8 What Is A Charter Government? Types of Charter Counties a. State Constitutional Charters Counties Duval (1936) Hillsborough (1966) Miami-Dade (1956) Monroe (1936) b. Local Home Rule Charters - 17
9 Alachua Brevard Broward Charlotte Clay Columbia Lee Leon Orange Osceola Palm Beach Pinellas Polk Sarasota Seminole Volusia Wakulla List of Charter Counties
10 Why Would A County Want To Be A Charter Government? Structure of county government can be tailored by local voters to meet the needs of the county. Given all powers of self-government consistent with law May provide for citizen initiative to create ordinances May provide for initiative to amend charter Can require an Administrative Code detailing all regulations, policies and procedures Can provide for a municipal utility tax be levied in the unincorporated area May provide for method of election or appointment, whether elections are non-partisan, recall, length of terms and limitation of terms. Whether salaries can be included is unclear. Special acts have to be voted on by county voters additional protections from hostile local legislative delegations
11 Disadvantages Frequent changes in the charter may cause instability in local government Allows local political groups increased freedom from state supervision Local government could refuse to participate in solutions to area-wide problems Ballots may become excessive in length
12 Common Charter Issues For Clerks Abolition of constitutional office loss of related independence (watch dog), budget approval, performance audits, responsiveness, uniform support services (including purchasing, IT, audit, legal, risk management, personnel, and fleet management) Term limits Compensation
13 1996 Charter Language In Orange County A. The charter offices of property appraiser, tax collector and sheriff formerly created by this section 703 are abolished. The functions and duties of each of these respective charter offices are transferred to the property appraiser, tax collector, and sheriff, as county officers under Article VIII, Section 1(d) of the Florida Constitution and each of these offices is hereby reestablished under Article VIII, Section 1(d) of the Constitution of the State of Florida. This sub-section A. shall take effect on January 8, The holders of the former charter offices of property appraiser, tax collector, and sheriff as of the effective date shall be retained and shall constitute the initial county officers serving as property appraiser, tax collector, and sheriff, as those offices are reestablished under Article VIII, Section 1(d) of the Constitution of the State of Florida. B. Except as may be specifically set forth in the Charter, the county officers referenced under Article VIII, Section 1(d) of the Florida Constitution and Chapter , Laws of Florida shall not be governed by the Charter but instead governed by the Constitution and laws of the State of Florida.
14 Current Language Charter Alachua (1987) Elected County Constitutional Offices The offices of sheriff, property appraiser, tax collector, clerk of the circuit court and supervisor of elections shall remain as elected constitutional offices and the powers, duties and functions shall not be altered by this home rule charter. The constitutional officers shall perform their executive and administrative functions as specified by law.
15 Current Language Charter Brevard County (1994) Section 4.1. Elected County Officers The offices of Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and Supervisor of Elections are expressly preserved as departments of the County Government under this Charter. All of the powers, duties and functions now or hereafter prescribed by the Constitution and general laws of Florida applicable to such officers in noncharter counties are preserved, except as provided by this Charter.
16 Current Language Charter Leon (2002) The offices of the Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Supervisor of Elections shall remain as independently elected constitutional offices. Section 3.3 Clerk auditor. 1) The Leon County Clerk of the Court shall serve as the Auditor to the Commission as specified by law. The Clerk shall employ a Certified Public Accountant, or such other person qualified by education or experience in governmental accounting, internal auditing, auditing practices and fiscal controls, which shall include at lease five (5) years experience in professional accounting, auditing, governmental fiscal administration or related experience, unless the Clerk holds such qualifications. 2) Audit Committee. There shall be five member Audit Committee of which two members shall be appointed by the County Commission and thereby the Clerk. Clerk shall provide for the organization and duties of the audit committee, including membership terms, voting procedures, officers, subcommittees, meeting schedules and staff support.
17 Current Language Charter Orange Orange County Charter Section 712. Audits of County Officers. The Orange County Comptroller is authorized and required to conduct audits, including performance audits, of the offices of the Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Clerk of Court, and Supervisor of Elections, and the Orange County Board of County Commissioners shall be authorized and required to order audits, including performance audits of the office of the Orange County Comptroller.
18 Current Language Charter Palm Beach Palm Beach County Section 4.1 Elected Constitutional Officers. The elected constitutional officers of property appraiser, sheriff, supervisor of elections, tax collector, clerk of the circuit court, state attorney and public defender shall remain as presently constituted.
19 Current Language Charter Pinellas (1980) Sec County officers. This document [Charter] shall in no manner change the status, duties, or responsibilities of the [following] county officers of Pinellas County: The clerk of the circuit court, property appraiser, tax collector, sheriff, and supervisor of elections.
20 Current Language Charter Wakulla (2008) The county constitutional officers of Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and Supervisor of Elections shall remain as elected constitutional officers, and their powers, duties and functions will not be altered by this Home Rule Charter.
21 Examples Of Charter Polices Of Clerks Of The Circuit Court How some charters treat Clerks of the Circuit Court Broward Clerk/Collector abolished and transferred to Dept of Finance under County Administrator Commission Auditor Created Clay Clerk s duties transferred to County Administrator Commission Auditor created Duval Elected Charter Officers Council Auditor
22 Examples Of Charter Polices Of Clerks Of The Circuit Court Miami-Dade Charter Officers Commission Auditor Created Orange Elected Comptroller Comptroller audits all Constitutional Officers Osceola Clerk s duties transferred to County Administrator Commission Auditor created
23 Examples Of Charter Polices Of Clerks Of The Circuit Court Volusia Abolished all Constitutional Officer Commission Auditor Created Sherriff, Appraiser and Supervisor are elected Charter Officers The directors of the following departments shall be elected every four years The Sheriff, who shall serve as the director of the department of public safely. The supervisor of elections, who shall serve as the director of the department of elections The property appraiser, who shall serve as the director of the department of property appraisal.
24 Charter Possibilities Divide office of Clerk of Court and Comptroller may transfer duties to another office Example Volusia Charter Language: Volusia: All fiscal functions and duties now prescribed by the constitution and law for the office of the clerk of court which relate to the clerk s duties as ex officio to the BoCC and auditor and custodian of all funds are here transferred to the department of finance.
25 Leon Auditor In Charter Clerk Bob Inzer Clerk Auditor: The Leon County Clerk of the Court shall serve as the Auditor to the Commission. The Clerk shall employ a Certified Internal Auditor, CPA,. There shall be a five member audit committee..to adopt an annual plan of work and oversee the auditor.
26 The Suwannee County Experience Clerk Barry Baker Once upon a time, Way down upon the Suwannee River.
27 Charter Possibilities The Alachua County Experience Clerk Buddy Irby, Chair of Alachua Charter Review Committee
28 Charter Possibilities Term Limits Commissioners Constitutional Officers Brevard County: No county commissioner shall serve more than two (2) consecutive terms. Cook v. City of Jacksonville Telli v. Broward County (May 10, 2012)
29 Legal And Policy Arguments On Term Limits Legal: Article VIII, Section 1(D) creates office of county officers Article IV, Section 4 is the exclusive list of permitted disqualifications of office Cook was unconstitutional disqualification of office and could only be done by constitutional amendment Telli receded from Cook Policy: Ministerial nature of position Competency, not policy making Attract candidates
30 Charter Possibilities Board of County Commissioners Single Member Districts Increase the number of commissioners Residency
31 Charter Possibilities Limit On Campaign Contributions Alachua: Candidates shall not accept campaign contributions in an amount exceeding $ per election. (Does not apply to contributions from political parties)
32 Charter Possibilities Non-Partisan Elections Polk: Commencing with the primary and general elections in the year 2004, the offices of Clerk of the Circuit Court, Property Appraiser, Sheriff, Supervisor of Elections, and Tax Collector shall be nonpartisan
33 Legal and Policy Arguments Non- Partisan Elections Legal: 1) Must legislature act by general law? 2) Can a charter commission make a county constitutional officer nonpartisan without abolishing office? Columbia, Leon, Polk and Palm Beach have adopted charter provisions making Supervisor of Election nonpartisan Policy: Pro: 1) Current system, with primaries playing a role 2) Identified political traits for voters 3) Most common system in Florida for all constitutional offices Con: 1) Saves filing fee 2) Partisan politics is not related to job duties 3) Allows for broader cross-selection of personas to apply party activity is less of a factor
34 Legal and Policy Arguments On Compensation Legal: Article II, Section 5 (c) provides a non-delegable mandate that the legislature fix the compensation of county officers by general law (pre-emption) Policy: Need to attract capable candidates Fairness of reducing compensation for incumbents in office Important role of clerks should no be subject to political trends Preservation of statewide uniformity of state officials salaries
35 Charter Possibilities Set Salaries? Orange County: Compensation. (a) Effective January 1, 1997, the salary paid to each county commissioner shall be $56, (b) Effective January 1, 1997, the salary paid to the county chairman shall be $112, (c) Thereafter, the salaries of the county commissioners and county chairman shall be increased or decreased each fiscal year by the same percentage as the percentage increase or decrease in the CPI during the previous fiscal year.
36 Charter Possibilities Citizen Initiatives Allow citizen initiatives (charter amendments and ordinances) and set percent of electors required to place issue on ballot If charter office of clerk is abolished, can be amended by initiative
37 Charter Possibilities BoCC May Not Amend or Repeal Ordinance Approved Via Citizen Initiatives For X Years
38 Charter Possibilities Local Code of Ethics Local Ethics Commission
39 Charter Possibilities Bond Or Tax Referendum Only At Time of General Election
40 Constitution Revision Commission Art. XI Section 2 The Florida Constitution Revision Commission To be appointed in 2017 Governor appoints 15 members Attorney General Speaker appoints nine members President of the Senate appoints nine members Chief Justice appoints three members Governor selects Chair File Proposals > 180 days Prior to General Election
41 County Charters QUESTIONS? Susan H. Churuti Board-Certified in City, County and Local Government Law Bryant Miller Olive (813)
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