Home Rule Charter
We the people of this County, in order to secure for ourselves the benefits and responsibilities of home rule, to create a metropolitan government to serve our present and future needs, and to endow our municipalities with rights of self determination in their local affairs, do under God adopt this Home Rule Charter.
Citizen's Bill of Rights
(A) This government has been created to protect the governed, not the governing. In order to provide the public with full and accurate information, to promote efficient administrative management, to make government more accountable, and to insure to all persons fair and equitable treatment, the following rights are guaranteed:
1. Convenient access. Every person has the right to transact business with the county and municipalities with a minimum of personal inconvenience. It shall be the duty of the County Manager and the Commission to provide, within the County's budget limitations, reasonably convenient times and places for registration and voting, for required inspections, and for transacting business with the County.
2. Truth in government. No county or municipal official or employee shall knowingly furnish false information on any public matter, nor knowingly omit significant facts when giving requested information to members of the public.
3. Public Records. All audits, reports, minutes, documents and other public records of the County and the municipalities and their boards, agencies, departments, and authorities shall be open for inspection at reasonable times and places convenient to the public.
4. Minutes and ordinance register. The Clerk of the Commission and of each of the municipal council shall maintain and make available for public inspection an ordinance register separate from minutes showing the votes of each member on all ordinances and resolutions listed by descriptive title. Written minutes of all meetings and the ordinance register shall be available for public inspection not later than thirty (30) days after the conclusion of the meeting.
5. Right to be heard. So far as the orderly conduct of public business permits, any interested person has the right to appear before the commission or any municipal council or any county or municipal agency, board, or department for the presentation, adjustment or determination of an issue, request or controversy within the jurisdiction of the governmental entity involved. Matters shall be scheduled for the convenience of the public, and the agenda shall be divided into approximate time periods so that the public may know approximately when a matter will be heard. Nothing herein shall prohibit any governmental entity or agency from imposing reasonable time limits for the presentation of a matter.
6. Right to notice. Persons entitled to notice of a county or municipal hearing shall be timely informed as to the time, place and nature of the hearing and the legal authority pursuant to which the hearing is to be held. Failure by an individual to receive such notice shall not constitute mandatory grounds for cancelling the hearing or rendering invalid any determination made at such hearing. Copies of proposed ordinances or resolutions shall be made available at a reasonable time prior to the hearing, unless the matter involves an emergency ordinance or resolution.
7. No unreasonable postponements. No matter once having been placed on a formal agenda by the county or any municipality shall be postponed to another day except for good cause shown in the opinion of the county commission, the municipal council or other governmental entity or agency conducting such meeting, and then only on condition that any person so requesting is mailed adequate notice of the new date of any postponed meeting. Failure by an individual to receive such notice shall not constitute mandatory grounds for cancelling the hearing or rendering invalid any determination made at such hearing.
8. Right to public hearing. Upon a timely request of any interested party a public hearing shall be held by any county or municipal agency, board, department, or authority upon any significant policy decision to be issued by it which is not subject to subsequent administrative or legislative review and hearing. This provision shall not apply to the law department of the county or of any municipality, nor to any body whose duties and responsibilities are solely advisory.
At any zoning or other hearing in which review is exclusively by certiorari, a party or his counsel shall be entitled to present his case or defense by oral or documentary evidence, to submit rebuttal evidence, and to conduct such cross-examination as may be required for a full and true disclosure of the facts. The decision of any such agency, board, or department or authority must be based upon the facts in the record. Procedural rules establishing reasonable time and other limitations may be promulgated and amended from time to time.
9. Notice of action and reasons. Prompt notice shall be given of the denial in whole or in part of a request of an interested person made in connection with any county or municipal administrative decision is reserved at the conclusion of the hearing. The notice shall be accompanied by a statement of the grounds for denial.
10. Managers' and attorneys' reports. The county manager and county attorney and each city manager and city attorney shall periodically make public status report on all major matters pending or concluded within their respective jurisdictions.
11. Budgeting. In addition to any budget required by state statute, the county manager shall prepare a budget showing the cost of each program for each budget year. Prior to the county commission's first public hearing on the proposed budget required by state law, the county manager shall make public a budget summary setting forth the proposed cost of each individual program and reflecting the personnel for each program, the purposes therefore, the estimates millage cost of each program and the amount of any contingency and carry over funds for each program.
12. Quarterly budget comparisons. The county manager shall make public a quarterly report showing the actual expenditures during the quarter just ended against one quarter of the proposed annual expenditures set forth in the budget. Such report shall reflect the same cumulative information for whatever portion of the fiscal year that has elapsed.
13. Adequate audits. An annual audit of the county and each municipality shall be made by an independent certified public accounting firm in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. A summary of the results, including any deficiencies found, shall be made public. In making such audit, proprietary functions shall be audited separately and adequate depreciation on proprietary facilities shall be accrued so the public may determine the amount of any direct or indirect subsidy.
14. Regional offices. Regional offices of the county's administrative services shall be maintained at locations in the county for the convenience of the residents.
15. Financial disclosure. The commission shall by ordinance make provision for the filing under oath or affirmation by all county and municipal elective officials, candidates for county and municipal elective offices, such employees as any be designated by ordinance, and such other public officials, and outside consultants who receive funds from the county or municipalities within the county and who may legally be included, or personal financial statements, copies of personal federal income tax returns, or itemized source of income statements. Provision shall be made for preparing and keeping such reports current from time to time, and for public disclosure.
The commission shall also make provision for the filing annually under oath of a report by full-time county and municipal employees of all outside employment and amounts received therefrom. The county manager or any city manager may require monthly reports from individual employees or groups or employees for good cause.
16. Representation of public. The commission shall endeavor to provide representation at all proceedings significantly affecting the county and its residents before state and federal regulatory bodies.
17. Commission on Ethics and Public Trust. The County shall, by ordinance, establish an independent Commission on Ethics and Public Trust comprised of five members not appointed by County Commission, with the authority to review, interpret, render advisor opinions and enforce the county and municipal code of ethics ordinances, conflict of interest ordinance, lobbyist registration and reporting ordinances, ethical campaign practices ordinances, when enacted, and citizens' bill of rights.
(B) The foregoing enumeration of citizens' rights vests large and pervasive powers in the citizenry of Dade County. Such power necessarily carries with it responsibility of equal magnitude for the successful operation of government in the county. The orderly, efficient and fair operation of government requires the intelligent participation of individual citizens exercising their rights with dignity an restraint so as to avoid any sweeping acceleration in the cost of government because of the exercise of individual prerogatives, and for individual citizens to grant respect for the dignity of public office.
(C) Remedies for violations. In any suit by a citizen alleging a violation of this article filed in the Dade County Circuit Court pursuant to its general equity jurisdiction, the plaintiff, if successful, shall be entitled to recover costs as fixed by the court. Any public official or employee who is found by the court to have willfully violated this article shall forthwith forfeit his office or employment.
(D) Construction. All provisions of this article shall be construed to be supplementary to and not in conflict with the general laws of Florida. If any part of this article shall be declared invalid, it shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions.