Broward County, Florida

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Broward County is one of 67 counties in Florida. Fort Lauderdale is the county seat.

Broward's population as of 2010 was 1,748,066, making it the second most populated county in Florida.[1] It is one of 20 charter counties in the state. It became a charter county in 1975.[2]

Evaluation of website

Main article: Evaluation of Florida county websites
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Budget
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Transparency grading process


The good

  • Budget and financial reports are available online.[3]
  • Commissioners are listed with contact information.[4]
  • Meeting schedules, minutes, and agendas, and live broadcasts are available.[5]
  • County auditor reports are available.[6]
  • Building permits and zoning information is available.[7][8]
  • Local tax information is provided.[9]
  • Current solicitations and results are online. Contracts are not posted.[10]

The bad

  • Includes lobbying information, but does not disclose if belongs to government sector lobbying associations.[11]
  • Has an online records search, but does not provide information on how to make a public records request. Tells visitors to its website to conduct own database searches for information on the Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management Departments, but does not include links to them.[12]

Elected Officials

The Broward County Charter divides the government into legislative and administrative branches. The Board of County Commissioners serves as the legislative branch, and is composed of elected representatives from nine commission districts. The Council members as of June 2011:[13][14]

Member Title District Annual salary
Ilene Lieberman Commissioner District 1 $92,096.30
Kristin Jacobs Commissioner District 2 $92,096.30
Stacy Ritter Commissioner District 3 $92,096.30
Chip LaMarca Commissioner District 4 n/a
Lois Wexler Commissioner District 5 $92,096.30
Sue Gunzburger Mayor District 6 $92,596.10
John E. Rodstrom, Jr. Vice Mayor District 7 $92,096.30
Barbara Sharief Commissioner District 8 n/a
Dale V.C. Holness Commissioner District 9 n/a

Every third Tuesday in November, the Commission selects a Mayor and Vice Mayor to serve one-year terms. The Mayor is the County's official representative and presiding officer. The Commission also appoints the County Administrator (the county's chief executive), County Attorney and County Auditor. Current administrative officers and their annual pensions, as of 2009:[15][16]

Member Title Annual salary
Bertha Henry County Administrator $301,154
Joni A. Coffey County Attorney n/a
Evan A. Lukic County Auditor $209,122

Lobbying

Main articles:Florida government sector lobbying

Broward County has reported $2,950,000 spent lobbying the federal government since 2000 (see table).

Reported lobbying expenditures, 2000-2010[17]
Year Amount spent on lobbying
2010 $280,000
2009 $280,000
2008 $310,000
2007 $320,000
2006 $320,000
2005 $320,000
2004 $320,000
2003 $280,000
2002 $220,000
2001 $340,000
2000 $240,000

Representation[18][19]

Firm Branch Compensation range
Capitol Hill Group, LLP Legislature
Executive
$5,000
$1 to $9,999
Ericks Consultants, Inc. Legislature $15,000
Pittman Law Group Legislature $15,000
Ronald L. Book PA Legislature
Executive
$15,000
$10,000 to $19,999
Tripp Scott PA Legislature
Executive
$15,000
$10,000 to $19,999

Broward County has lobbying representation from firms. There are Capitol Hill Group, Ericks Consultants, Pittman Law Group, Ronald L. Book P.A., and Tripp Scott P.A..

For the lobbying it does before the legislature, the county has 16 lobbyists.[20] For lobbying before the executive, it utilizes the services of 11 lobbyists.[21]

The Center for Responsive Politics lists the Ferguson Group as a lobbying firm for the county at the cost of $280,000. Individual lobbyists from the firm who are working on behalf of Broward County are William Ferguson, Jr., Valerie Geinovatch, Ronald Hamm, Leslie C Mozingo, Kareem D. Murphy and Amanda Wood.[22] This information is not included on the Broward County website.

County boards and other offices

The Broward County Board of Commissioners has a lobbyist on its payroll for lobbying before the executive[23] and is represented by the firm Fowler White Boggs, P.A.[24]

The Broward County Board of Rules and Appeals has a lobbyist it compensates between $1.00 to $9,999.00 for lobbying before the Florida legislature.[18][25]

The Broward County Clerk of Courts has two lobbyists[26] it compensates $15,000 for lobbying the legislature.[27][18] The Broward County Property Appraiser has two lobbyists[28] it compensates $15,000.[29][18] Representation is provided by Ericks Consultants Inc.[30]

Sheriff

The Broward County Sheriff's Office is represented by:[24][30][18][19]

Firm Branch Compensation range
Ericks Consultants, Inc Legislature
Executive
$15,000
$10,000 to $19,999
Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Legislature
Executive
$0
$0
Heffley & Associates Legislature
Executive
$5,000
$1 to $9,999

Broward Principals and Administrative Assistants

Broward Principals and Administrative Assistants lobby the executive and the legislature.[24][30] The group pays at least two lobbyists,[31][32] and it is unclear whether this is equivalent to the Broward Principals' and Assistants' Association.[33]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations

Broward pays membership dues[34] to the Florida League of Cities, a government sector lobbying association.

Audits

For Broward County, the County Commission hires the County Auditor who reports directly to the commission. The Charter change established this function.[35]

New ethics law

Broward's state legislators voted against one proposed new ethics law and postponed action on another.

"It sounded like some of these folks don't get the message," said a disappointed Bill Scherer, a prominent Broward lawyer and member of the County Ethics Commission. "This attitude demonstrates some kind of apathy to the problem we face in our community."

The County Ethics Commission is drafting an ethics code for county commissioners.

Opponents to the ethics law said they weren't comfortable moving forward with the legislation until they know all the details of the new code, which will be completed by the end of February.[36]

Bribery arrests

In 2009 Broward County commissioner, a School Board member, a former Miramar city commissioner, and a prominent Hollywood political fundraiser were arrested.

Board member Beverly Gallagher, County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, Jr., and former Miramar Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman were arrested September 23, 2009 for unrelated fraud cases after FBI sting operations.[37]

The agents slipped more than $40,000 in cash to the politicians while posing as corrupt businessmen. The FBI released hidden tape recorders entangling Commissioner Eggelletion, School Board member Gallagher and former Commissioner Salesman, but more arrests are expected.

Mendelsohn corruption trial

Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a Broward County physician and unregistered lobbyist who funneled $700,000 in campaign donations and additional income to his family and mistress, was sentenced to a 4 year prison term and was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Mendlesohn has admitted to taking $330,000 from political action committees and giving $82,000 of that amount to former state senator Mandy Dawson. U.S. District Judge William Zloch, who presided over the trial, told the court that “a message must be sent to the public that corruption of this scope cannot and will not be tolerated.”[38]

Airport expansion controversy

Runway expansion plan at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has led to some residents complaining about the potentially louder noise. In response, the airport has initiated a "pilot program" to soundproof homes, with the goal being to lower the sound level by 5 decibels.[39] According to airport spokesman Greg Meyer, 48 homes have been identified as requiring the new soundproofing. The price of soundproofing each home is between $65,000 and $70,000. Though the airport is shouldering the costs of the test program, airport officials say that it is up to the county to provide for future soundproofing costs or helping the affected residents sell their homes. A price tag has not yet been determined.[40]

Public employee salaries

Main article: Broward County employee salaries


See also

External links

References

  1. U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts
  2. Florida's charter counties
  3. Budget
  4. Commissioners
  5. Meeting Information
  6. CAFR
  7. Building Permits
  8. Zoning
  9. Tax Information
  10. Contracts
  11. Lobbyist
  12. Public Information Request
  13. Broward County Government
  14. Public Employee Database
  15. Broward County Commission
  16. Public Employee Database
  17. Open Secrets
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 FLORIDA LEGISLATURE—2009/QTR 1 COMPENSATION BY PRINCIPAL
  19. 19.0 19.1 EXECUTIVE BRANCH—2009/QTR 1 COMPENSATION BY PRINCIPAL
  20. 2009 Legislative Principal - Broward County
  21. 2009 Executive Principal - Broward County
  22. Open Secrets
  23. 2009 Executive Principal - Broward County Board of County Commissioners
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 2009 Q1 Executive
  25. 2009 Legislative Principal - Broward County Board of Rules and Appeals
  26. 2009 Legislative Principal - Broward County Clerk of Courts
  27. 2009 Legislative Lobbyist by Principal
  28. 2009 Legislative Principal - Broward County Property Appraiser
  29. 2009 Legislative Lobbyist by Principal
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 2009 Q1 Legislative Lobbying
  31. 2009 Legislative Principal - Broward Principals and Administrative Assistants
  32. 2009 Legislative Principal - Broward Principals and Administrative Assistants
  33. Broward Principals' and Assistants' Association
  34. Membership Directory
  35. PBC Clerk & Comptroller 5.30.07
  36. Broward legislators balk at new ethics law, Sun-Sentinel, January 9, 2010
  37. "3 Broward politicians arrested in FBI public corruption stings," Miami Herald, September 24, 2009
  38. Weaver, Jay. "Judge slams Broward doctor." Miami Herald. June 2, 2011
  39. "Near-airport soundproofing: $65,000 for five decibels less noise," Sun Sentinel, June 13, 2011
  40. "Soundproofing test begins on homes near Fort Lauderdale airport," Sun Sentinel, June 13, 2011