Claudia Mariaca is Vice-Mayor. Charter Amendment Commission Designated
By: María Alejandra Pulgar
@marialepulgar – NAHJ #37172
The last Doral Council Meeting for Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodríguez was a brief session where several pending items were concluded to have a fresh start once the new council is formed after the elections, including the appointment of the new Vice Mayor, nomination of Charter Review committee members, approval of resolution for Air, Soil and Water quality study and hearings for ordinances regarding hiring preferences for projects, charter enforcement office, public arts programs and financial disclosure on the application for new businesses in the city.
“Doral is a gem that has surpassed the expectations of many,” said Councilwoman Rodriguez on her farewell speech, before moving the motion to adjourn the meeting. She received a special recognition from the Council and staff for her eight years of selfless service to the community. Rodriguez is finishing her last term as councilwoman and looks forward to continue serving the community in Tallahassee as State Representative.
Councilwoman Mariaca, New Vice-Mayor. Sponsored Local Businesses Preference Ordinance
According to a Doral Charter amendment approved in August 2014, the Vice Mayor role should rotate among councilmembers. This year is the turn for Seat 1, occupied by Claudia Mariaca.
Vice Mayor Mariaca assumed her new position on the dais during the November Council Meeting, sponsoring a new ordinance that passed on first reading regarding a new procedure to “provide preference for Doral businesses and residents in public works and improvements contracts”, establishing the requirements for local business and workforce to participate for “competitively procured contracts”.
The City of Miami, Homestead and Miami-Dade County have similar legislation in their code to benefit their residents and business owners.
According to information provided by Vice Mayor Mariaca’s office, “this initiative is focused on stimulating business for local companies and boosting job opportunities for Doral residents.”
Among the requirements from bidders to qualify for preferential consideration are:
- A minimum of 10% of the contract costs destined to employ Doral residents
- If awarded $1-5 million for a job, need to develop at least one job fair in Doral
- If awarded above $5 million for a job, need to develop at least two jobs fair in Doral
- At least 2.5% of the total bid should utilize local businesses.
- Career Source or any other third party can be used to verify and certify compliance
The ordinance passed unanimously on first reading and will be up for second reading and approval on the December meeting.
Doral Charter Review Commission designated
The City of Doral Charter is up for review every five years according to its Article VI. The last review took place in 2014; therefore a commission of five members nominated by the council should be created to tackle the task during 2019.
The charter review “is a controlled process, defined within the rules that regulate the City’s form of government, to periodically update its procedures, and keep them within the vision and interests of the citizens.”
According to the charter, one of the members of the commission must have served on it in the past. To comply with that requirement Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez nominated Mr. Jesse Jones, who served on the original Doral Charter Commission and later on the 2014 review committee.
In addition to Mr. Jones, the other Review Commission members nominated are Ricardo Morales, nominated by Mayor Bermudez; Oscar Puig-Corve, nominated by Vice Mayor Mariaca; Debra Ann Campos, nominated by Councilwoman Fraga and Frank Cuneo nominated by Councilman Cabrera.
The newly appointed Charter Review Commission members will be notified and their first meeting is expected to take place in the next few weeks.
Approved contract for Air, Soil and Water quality study
Doral Council unanimously approved the agreement with TRC environmental for an Air, Water and Soil quality study to be done along with the Public Works Department. They will work along with the Task Force that was previously established earlier this year to finding solutions and mitigate the odor issues that occur in the north of the city.
Public Works will work with TRC and the task force to develop a methodology for the study. The objective of the study is to identify sulfur components and volatile organic components that are a possible origin of odors. They will provide immediate response to take consideration of odor location complaints to pinpoint testing areas and obtain samples to be processed at a temporary lab that will be installed at Government Center, to analyze air samples, including gas chromatography and later samples will be sent to another lab to complete the studies.
According to public works, the contractor will hold a meeting on November 15 with the environmental task force and the Environmental Advisory Board to define the full scope of the agreement and put the methodology together. They are expected to bring the results of the study to Council at the beginning of 2019.
Doral Internal Affairs will handle Charter Enforcement
Citizens approved in 2014 an amendment requiring the creation of a Charter Enforcement Office, and funds have been allocated in the budget for the position. Different instances were consulted that could handle the task over the years. However, the County Chief Judge, the Ethics Commission, and the Inspector General offices have found there might be a conflict to create the entity, leaving this requirement as the only Doral Amendment voted that could not be implemented.
Mayor Bermudez sponsored an ordinance that was approved on first reading this November, creating a procedure where charter enforcement complaints are processed through internal affairs in the city. The procedure does not preclude any resident to go to other instances to request additional investigations. The ordinance creates an easy mechanism for the residents, a sworn statement to City Clerk, preventing anonymous complaints.
It is expected that the new Charter Review commission considers a change in the language related to this issue to ease the implementation. In the meantime, the ordinance with this procedure takes care of the pending Charter Enforcement implementation issue.