David Di Pietro was appointed

by the Broward County Commission
to the County’s Charter Review Commission

The idea of spending three years retooling a county charter may sound like mundane work, but the results can be more glamorous than one might think.

Past charter review boards took up gun control, a Citizens’ Bill of Rights, and regional fire-rescue services. The most recent group got a zero-tolerance ethics law imposed on public officials and employees.

What will the new group do?

Saturday, the newly appointed 19-member Charter Review Commission launched its three-year job, which will culminate in items on the November 2018 ballot.

Under Broward County’s charter, every 10 years, a commission is appointed by county commissioners to evaluate what’s working in Broward government, and what’s not. The group has the power to place items on the ballot, without interference from the County Commission.

On the board are lawyers, former politicians, activists and other political elite.

The head of the Broward Democratic Party, Cynthia Busch, is a member, as is the former head of the Republican Party, Cynthia Guerra. Former County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger and former Miramar Mayor Lori Moseley are members, as is political pollster Jim Kane, David DiPietro, chairman of the North Broward Hospital District; and Burnadette Norris-Weeks, who is attorney for the county elections office.

Saturday’s retreat, held at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center in John U. Lloyd State Park, was an all-day opportunity for the group to get to know each other, and air their priority issues.

Members said climate change, land use, traffic and children’s issues were important, but the group didn’t rank a top five, saying it was too soon to set the priorities. Debate about whether the county needs a a countywide elected mayor, rather the current ceremonial rotation, is expected.

The group named longtime government contractor Tom McDonald, president of Craven Thompson & Associates engineering firm, as chairman. Gunzburger was elected vice chairwoman.

Decisions will be made soon on who will act as the group’s attorney, and who will be hired as executive director.

The group decided that meetings will be held the second Wednesday of each month from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave. in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The next meeting, though, is Dec. 9.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-charter-review-retreat-20151017-story.html