When Victor Vazquez decided to run for Miami-Dade County Commission, he was required to resign in order to run for office. That process creates a vacancy that needs to be filled.
We reported back on May 11, 2022 that Victor Vazquez had filed to run for the County Commission Seat. Councilman Vazquez will have to vacate his seat next month to comply with the Florida resign to run law.
I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t he lose the election back in August? Yes. That’s true. But that was the primary election. The final / runoff election is in November. And that’s why Victor can stay on the City Council until November.
Okay. So how does the City of Miami Springs fill the vacancy? Well, let’s look at the City Charter:
Sec. 3.07. – Vacancies; forfeitures of office; filling of vacancies; extraordinary vacancies.
(1) The offices of Councilmembers and Mayor shall become vacant upon death, resignation, election to any other office in the city, removal from office in any manner authorized by law, forfeiture of office, failure to attend City Council meetings for a period of 90 consecutive days, failure to remain a bona fide resident of the city, or if the total consecutive years in office of the elected official exceeds 8 years.
(2) A Councilmember or Mayor shall forfeit his office if:
(a) At any time during the term of office the official lacks any qualification for the office as prescribed by this charter or by law, or
(b) The official violates any standard of conduct or a code of ethics established by law for public officials, or
(c) Is convicted of a felony or violation of the provisions of this charter.
(3) A vacancy on the Council shall be filled in one of the following ways:
(a) If there is less than 120 days remaining in the unexpired term or if there is less than 120 days before the next regular city election, the Council, by a majority vote of the remaining members shall choose a successor to serve until the newly elected Councilmember or Mayor is qualified;
(b) If there is more than 120 days remaining in the unexpired term and no regular city election is scheduled within 120 days, the Council shall fill the vacancy on an interim basis as provided in (a) and shall call a special election to be held within 30 days following the first regular meeting of the Council after the occurrence of the vacancy;
(c) A majority of the remaining members of the Council shall call an election as provided in (b) notwithstanding that the expiration of the 30-day period provided for in this section occurs within 120 days of the next regular election.
(4) If more than one of the members of the City Council should become appointed rather than elected to office, then the remaining members of the Council, or in the absence thereof, the governor of the state shall call an election to be held not more than 45 days thereafter to permit the registered electors to elect Councilmembers. Appointed Councilmembers may succeed themselves unless otherwise prohibited by the charter or by state laws. If a city or countywide election is scheduled to be held within 120 days from the date on which more than one of the members of the Council became appointive, the Council may elect to defer the required election until the next scheduled city or countywide election.=
When is the next Miami Springs Election?
The next Miami Springs election will be held on Tuesday, April 4, 2023. Councilman Vazquez officially resigns on November 22, 2022. That leaves 133 days till the next Miami Springs Election. That surpasses the 120 day threshold set in the Miami Springs Charter.
If we look at the Miami Springs Charter, it indicates we need to follow the provision in the charter listed below:
If there is more than 120 days remaining in the unexpired term and no regular city election is scheduled within 120 days, the Council shall fill the vacancy on an interim basis as provided in (a) and shall call a special election to be held within 30 days following the first regular meeting of the Council after the occurrence of the vacancy;
The conversation got very strange in Monday’s City Council Meeting as it appeared some of the members on Council (like Bob Best) were looking at ways to not accept a date from the County Elections Department in order to give the Council the ability to appoint an interim Council Member instead of allowing for a special election as required by the City Charter.
Fiscally speaking, special city elections are very expensive because we have to pay for the whole thing. However, adding a municipal item to a general election is relatively cheap.
Hello. There’s a general election in less than two weeks. Why wasn’t the Group IV seat added to the general election months ago?
Why didn’t the City Attorney recommend to the City Council to have a special election to replace Victor Vazquez during the upcoming general election being held on November 8, 2022? We knew Vazquez was running for the County seat way back in May. We knew he had to resign to run. Why is the City Attorney bringing up the possibility of a special election now? Why wasn’t this brought up a few months ago?
The City Attorney’s final direction was that she would be issuing a memo to the Council Members to help clarify the matter. We can’t wait to see it.
One More Thing
In the discussion on the matter in Monday’s City Council Meeting, the City Attorney stated that if the Council were to move forward with an appointment, that it was within the City Council’s rights to appoint Victor Vazquez to fill the seat he resigned.
That seems to counter the whole intent of the Florida resign to run law.
Nevertheless, it appears that if Victor Vazquez resigns, he would have served one term in office. If he’s appointed for the interim period, he would have to be sworn in again to serve his second term in office. That means, he would only be allowed to serve two more terms in office before hitting his limit of 4 terms.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section or via social media.