2020 COOPER CITY BALLOT QUESTIONS

There are eleven referendum questions on the ballot this year. It is very important that residents do their research prior to voting on each of these. Here are my positions on each item.
Ballot Question 1: ESTABLISHMENT OF CITY ADVISORY BOARDS AND LIMITATIONS ON SIMULTANEOUS SERVICE ON MULTIPLE BOARDS

Shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to eliminate the distinction between permanent boards and advisory boards and to authorize the city commission to establish advisory boards, as it deems necessary, to provide advice or recommendations to the city commission; provided, however, that no individual shall serve simultaneously on more than two (2) advisory boards? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO

How will I vote?         YES

Why?      It is my opinion that this change in verbiage clarifies items in the charter. While not crucial, this amendment will prohibit residents from serving on more than two boards giving opportunity for more residents to get involved. 

Ballot Question 2: REMEDIES FOR VIOLATION OF CITY CHARTER

Shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to provide that residents of the city shall have standing to bring legal action against the city to enforce the provisions of the city charter? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO 
 

How will I vote?         NO

Why?      Currently, anyone can sue anyone at any time. It is not necessary to add language to the charter that gives residents a right that they already have.

Ballot Question 3: ELECTION OF CITY COMMISSIONERS AND RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS

Commencing with the election in November 2022, shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to provide that candidates running for a district seat on the commission shall be elected by the electors residing within their district, with the mayor continuing to run at-large, and requiring candidates to reside in their district for one year prior to qualifying to run, with the mayor required to reside in the City for one year prior to qualifying? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO 

How will I vote?         NO

Why?      Right now the entire city has a vote in every single commission regardless of where they live.  If this passes, only residents living in that district will be able to vote for that commissioner. This means that instead of having 15,000 votes cast for that person, less than 4,000 will be able to vote for or against that person. I believe that with such a small city, no one should be elected with only the support of 2000 residents. I would rather that all representatives in the city have to gain the support from the majority of the entire city. While, I do agree that commissioners should have lived in the city for at least a year, I will not vote for this amendment because it takes away the say of our residents.

Ballot Question 4: ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING TO SWEAR IN NEWLY ELECTED CITY COMMISSIONERS

Shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to provide for the swearing in of newly elected members of the city commission at 6:30 p.m. on the third business day following the receipt of certified election results from the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, as opposed to the first Monday following the receipt of certified results? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO 

How will I vote?         NO

Why?      This housekeeping item changes the swearing in of new commissioners. I haven’t had an issue knowing it would be the Monday after the results are certified and don’t think this change is necessary.

Ballot Question 5: REQUIREMENTS TO HIRE A CITY MANAGER AND CITY MANAGER QUALIFICATIONS

Shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to reduce the voting requirement to hire a city manager from a four-fifths (4/5) vote of the city commission to a majority (3/5) vote and to require applicants for the city manager position to have, at a minimum, the type of degree possessed by any department head reporting to the city manager? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO 

How will I vote?         NO

Why?      The city manager is the most important position in the city. The hiring of this position should not be taken lightly. Right now the hiring of a new manager takes four of the commission to agree. If this passes only three votes will be needed to hire a new manager. While sometimes it is difficult for the commission to agree, it is too important to hire a city manager with just a simple majority.

Ballot Question 6: CITY MANAGER’S AUTHORITY TO APPOINT AND REMOVE DEPARTMENT HEADS AND ASSISTANT DEPARTMENT HEADS

Shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to authorize the city manager to appoint and remove all department heads and assistant department heads in the city, including the city clerk, without approval of the city commission? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO

How will I vote?         NO

Why?     I do not believe that the power to hire and fire all department heads and assistant department heads should be allowed by just one person. Right now the city does not have the internal controls necessary to ensure that a city manager does not fire all of the existing staff and bring in all of their friends. I prefer having more checks and balances to prevent issues going forward.

Ballot Question 7: REMOVAL OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT FROM THE CITY CHARTER 

Shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to eliminate the administrative assistant position from the charter as a direct report to the city commission and transition the position to one reporting to the city manager? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO 

How will I vote?         YES

Why?     If this amendment passes the administrative assistant position will no longer report to the commission, but rather to the city manager. Right now this person reports to 5 people and with the Sunshine law, they are not allowed to communicate. This amendment will streamline that position by giving her one boss.  

Ballot Question 8: PROCEDURES FOR SUBMITTING THE ANNUAL BUDGET TO THE CITY COMMISSION

Shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to require the city manager to submit the annual budget to the city commission by August 15 of each year, as opposed to July 1, and to conduct one public meeting prior to submitting the budget and one public meeting with the commission after submitting the budget, as opposed to two meetings in each instance, in addition to the two public budget hearings required by state law? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO O 

How will I vote?         NO

Why?     This amendment gives the public less time to review the budget and  meetings at which to address the commission regarding their concerns. We want more transparency and this amendment will do the exact opposite.  

Ballot Question 9: PROCEDURES FOR ROTATING THE QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CITY’S ANNUAL AUDIT

Shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to provide that no accountant or partner at a firm of accountants who is responsible for the city’s annual audit shall participate in the city’s audit if that person has performed audit services for the city in each of the previous five (5) fiscal years, instead of requiring the city to change the individual or firm responsible for the city’s audit every three (3) years? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO 

How will I vote?         YES

Why?     Right now, the charter forces the city to change auditing firms every three years. By passing this amendment, we do not have to change firms if we are happy with them. Instead, to have adequate controls in place, the city will change partners every five years. This will assist the accounting department with the annual audit procedure.  

Ballot Question 10: REFERENDUM REQUIREMENT FOR CAPITAL PROJECTS EXCEEDING FIVE PERCENT OF CITY OPERATING BUDGET

Shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to require that, unless included in the adopted budget for a particular fiscal year, no capital project shall exceed five percent (5%) of the city’s operating budget of the general fund, as adopted at the beginning of the most recent fiscal year, unless approved by a vote of the electors of the city at a referendum election, subject to certain limited exceptions? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO 

How will I vote?         YES

Why?     This is my favorite ballot item of all of them. By approving this amendment, the commission cannot start a capital project exceeding 5% of their budget without the residents’ approval. With a budget of about $39million, the city would not be able to start a project of $2million without it going to the vote of the residents. This adds to the checks and balances necessary to prohibit excessive spending.

Ballot Question 11: CHARTER REVIEW BOARD FREQUENCY AND FILLING VACANCIES 

Shall the Cooper City Charter be amended to require the city commission to convene a charter review board every six (6) years as opposed to every four (4) years, and to authorize a majority of the city commission to fill vacancies on the charter review board in the event that any member of the city commission does not make appointments to the board? This proposed Charter amendment will have no financial impact to the City. YES or NO 

How will I vote?         NO

Why?     The Cooper City charter is the most important document in the city. Right now the charter review board, the city’s only permanent board consisting of 10 residents, meets every four years to make recommended charter changes. If this passes, they will meet every six years instead. I believe the residents should have the ability to meet and review the charter more often to increase and not limit transparency.

© 2020 Jennifer Goldfarb. All Rights Reserved. 
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Jennifer Goldfarb, non partisan for Cooper City Commission, District 4

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