On Nov. 4, Parkland residents will vote on a proposed charter amendment that would allow an incumbent to run for a city commission seat even if he or she has been termed out.
At a recent meeting, the City Commission voted 4-1 in favor of the amendment that would enable officials who are being termed out to run again provided they have adequate numbers of signatures to prove the support of voters. The voters will have a final say on the matter.
If the amendment passes, a city commissioner will need to submit a petition containing signatures of at least 10 percent of the voters in his or her district. For the mayor’s seat, the petition will have to be signed by five percent of the total number of voters in the city.
Commissioner Mark Weissman, who proposed the amendment, said it was intended to help the city. “You need somebody with institutional history,” he said. “I believe the man who did the most to make Parkland what it is today is Sal Pagliara. If he had been termed out, the city wouldn’t be what it is now.”
According to the current charter, a mayor will be termed out and if he or she has served for eight consecutive years. Likewise, a city commissioner cannot seek re-election after serving the district for eight consecutive years.
“If you are looking for a higher office, it is difficult to get your name out there in eight years,” Weissman said. “More so, if you are an official in one of the smaller cities. We are not imposing anything on the voters. We are just asking them to decide.”
“Deerfield Beach had the petition process at one point of time,” Vice Mayor Christine Hunschofsky said. “It is not like we are doing away with term limits. This gives people a choice.”
Officials voted 4-1 in favor of the amendment with Mayor Michael Udine, who has publicly stated his preference for term limits, voting “no.” Commissioner Stacy Kagan said that she did not have a problem with the voters having the right to make a decision. Commissioner Dave Rosenof said he was in favor of having no term limits.
The charter amendment is one of the two on which city voters will decide. The other one involves increasing the compensation for city officials from the current $200 a month. The proposal is to adjust the salaries and benefits every October, based on the average salaries of the mayors and city commissioners in Deerfield Beach, Margate and Coconut Creek.