Miami-Dade Ethics Commission to Hold Surfside Meeting After Complaints


Following numerous complaints from Surfside residents against their elected officials, the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust will hold a town hall meeting Wednesday night.

  • The meeting will address topics such as ‘exploitation of official position’ and ‘putting the public interest above self-interest’, according to a flyer for the event.

What is happening: Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger told Axios that the county ethics commission is hosting the forum to educate residents on what constitutes an ethics violation versus disagreeing on policy.

  • Danzinger said he sometimes receives hundreds of copies of ethics complaints daily — and he believes they are driven by a few disgruntled individuals who annoy others via social media.

Julio Rumbaut, who helped find Telemundo‘s WSCV-TV in Florida, is among Surfside residents who recently filed complaints. Rumbaut tells Axios that he thinks the city commission has a “business-driven, special-interest-driven agenda” since four of its five members were voted in in an election in March.

  • He noted that this summer, as the commissioners considered an order on further changes to the rules, including allowing hotels to have more lounge chairs, residents circulated a petition oppose the measure.
  • The petitioners are concerned that increased commercial activity on the beach will alter Surfside’s calm character and interfere with sea turtles.

To note : The proposed order has received preliminary approval but will be subject to another vote.

Rumbaut also said he and other residents share concerns about:

  • Allegations that commissioners vote on matters in which they have a conflict of interest and that
  • The mayor frequently interrupts speakers. He recently had a resident deleted from the podium by four officers.

What they say : Danzinger said the number of chairs hotels could have on the beach had previously been limited due to beach erosion. But now the city commission is trying to find a “middle ground” to increase the number after the Grand Beach Hotel filed a lawsuit against Surfside over beach chairs.

  • Danzinger said such a lawsuit could threaten the city’s control over its beach, which is mostly state-regulated.

Danzinger also acknowledged that he strictly runs meetings, and said it’s because of the way the previous slate of commissioners acted: “They were literally toppling over at meetings. We had commissioners yelling at residents.”

  • If people aren’t happy with his politics, Danzinger said, they should eliminate him in the next election.


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