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Miami-Dade County, Florida

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Miami-Dade County is one of 67 counties in Florida. Miami is the county seat.

Miami-Dade County's estimated population as of the 2010 U.S. Census was 2,496,435, making it the eighth most populous county in the United States.[1] It is one of 20 charter countes in the state. It became a charter county in 1957 and was the first Florida county to achieve this status.[2]

Evaluation of website

Main article: Evaluation of Florida county websites

Last rated on Jan. 19, 2012

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Budget
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Elected Officials
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Administrative Officials
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Permits, zoning
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Audits
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Lobbying N
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Transparency grading process


The good

  • Budget and multi-year financial outlook are published.[3]
  • Board meeting schedule[4], agendas[5],minutes[6], and meeting webcasts (archived online back to 2007)[7] are available.
  • County commissioners are listed with contact information.[8]
  • State and county elected officials are listed with contact information.[9]
  • Building permits[10] and zoning information is available.[11]
  • Audits are available.[12]
  • Contracts are available.[13]
  • Local tax information is available.[14]

The bad

Elected officials

The Board of County Commissioners has the authority to pass ordinances and impose penalties for breaking them, to levy and collect taxes, and to perform other such duties that are necessary to maintain the county's daily operations.[17]

Each board commissioner is elected to represent one of Miami-Dade's 13 districts. Current Chairman of the Board, Commissioner Joe A. Martinez, is serving a two-year term that ends in 2012. Two new commissioners, Xavier L. Suarez and Esteban Bovo, Jr., will be formally installed during a ceremony on Monday, June 6, 2011.[18]

Neither the Board's main website nor the pages for the individual commissioners mention the commissioners' party affiliation.[19]

Public employee salaries

Main article: Miami-Dade County employee salaries

County Manager George Burgess earns a compensation package which totals at $425,000 annually, and comes with a 2010 Infiniti M35 car. Additionally, it's been reported that near 100 public employees are earning more than $200,000 per year, costing the city $23 million annually. There is an additional 1,751 public employees, almost half of the public workforce, who earn six-figure paychecks.[20] Over 3,000 county employees earn $100,000 or more annually.[21]

In March 2011, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez was recalled in a special vote that saw only 14.9% turnout among the city's 1.2 million registered voters. Miami-Dade currently faces a $400 million budget deficit that must be closed by July 15. Unemployment is 13.2% in the county of 2.5 million.[22]

Lobbying

Main article: Florida government sector lobbying

Miami-Dade County has reported $8,581,000 spent on lobbying the federal government since 2000 (see table). Miami-Dade County pays for services of the lobbying firms Alcade & Fay[23], Cardenas Partners[24], Greenberg Traurig LLP[25], Thurman Gould[26], and Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson[27].

The subcontractor Dade County Expressway Authority reported $20,000 spent on lobbying in 2010, paid to the Gephardt Group[28].

The subsidiary Metro Dade Transit Authority reported $36,000 spent on lobbying in 2010, paid to the Carrie Meek Group[29].

The subsidiary Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority reported $90,000 spent on lobbying in 2010. The Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority paid for the services of the lobbying firms Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson[30] and Bryan Cave LLP[31]

Reported lobbying expenditures, 2000-2010[32]
Year Amount spent on lobbying
2011 (as of 05/02) $140,000
2010 $690,000
2009 $890,000
2008 $890,000
2007 $775,000
2006 $780,000
2005 $1,220,000
2004 $1,140,000
2003 $1,090,000
2002 $680,000
2001 $575,000
2000 $440,000

The spending for lobbying for these years includes several different departments and agencies in the county, including the County Office of Government Affairs, Department of Aviation, and the Dade County Board of Commissioners.[32]

Audits

For Miami-Dade County, there are three audit organizations. First, the Commission Auditor reports directly to the Board of County Commissioners. This function was established by Charter change in 2002. Second, the Audit and Management Services Department within the County government reports to the County manager. Third, the Inspector General reports to the Board of County Commissioners.[33]

Transit Authority

The Federal Transit Authority recently withdrew $182 million in funding from Miami-Dade.[34] A federal audit found that the county had weak internal controls, and was practicing improper accounting for bus fare boxes and a failure to document how federal grant money has been spent.[34]

The transit's budget for the year is $800 million.[34]

External links

References