In the City of Cocoa Beach, one can find a City Commission-City Manager form of government. The City Commission deals with enacting policy, while the City Manager is responsible for administering it. The Commission consists of five members, and all of them attended the meeting under consideration. In particular, they were Mayor Ben Malik, Vice-Mayor Karalyn Woulas, and Commissioners Ed Martinez, Skip Williams, and Mike Miller (City of Cocoa Beach, 2021a). Simultaneously, a few administrative members were present, including City Manager James McKnight, City Attorney Becky Vose, Marketing Director Melissa Byron, Finance Director Patrisha Draycott, and others (City of Cocoa Beach, 2021a). The meeting under analysis was held on November 18, 2021, to consider a few essential issues for the city.
In the beginning, it is necessary to highlight that the meeting followed a specific order that was specified in the agenda. Invocation, pledge of allegiance, and roll call are preliminary activities. After them, the City Manager’s report took place explaining what urban improvement works had been completed and highlighting the list of upcoming events. Some of the Commissioners and the Mayor also took the floor and wished a Happy Thanksgiving. Consent Agenda was the following section, where Water Reclamation Director Brad Kaslow discussed specific measures to overcome Hurricane Irma’s consequences. The City Commission also approved the contract with PROCHAMPS to manage “at risk” properties.
The following step was to deal with unfinished business that included adopting Ordinance No. 1659 regarding violations in relation to the issuance of citations, selecting a City Manager, and adopting Ordinance No. 1660. As for the latter legal document, it was necessary to regulate the operation of golf carts on streets and public roads. After that, the City Commission moved to focusing on new business. The task was to appoint a Vice-Mayor and consider the Cocoa Beach Land Development Code height variance. Since everything was settled down and there were no general public comments, the meeting was adjourned 38 minutes after it started. It is possible to conclude that the order of the meeting exactly reflected the predetermined agenda.
According to the information above, the meeting dealt with two entirely new agenda items, and they were approached differently. On the one hand, the height variance request was postponed to the December 2, 2021 Commission meeting. Such a decision was supposedly necessary for the Commission to ensure that all the required information is available to make a decision. On the other hand, the Commission unanimously supported the decision to appoint Commissioner Williams as Vice-Mayor. Since the appointment was in line with the rotation schedule, the agenda item did not face much discussion or any comments from the public.
One can mention that the board meeting was relatively productive. Even though the specific agenda item was postponed to the next meeting, the adoption of two Ordinances and appointment of a Vice-Mayor denote that the Commission made an effort to perform its functions and meet the stipulated purpose. It is possible to assume that the Commission’s performance contributes to the effective governance of the City of Cocoa Beach. In particular, the regulations indicate that a Vice-Mayor is elected yearly, meaning that this official should be appointed once a year to ensure that the Commission has all the required members who can perform their functions according to legal regulations.
If I were a ruler for a day, I would not introduce any changes or modifications to this board meeting. Even though it only lasted for 38 minutes, it is impossible to mention that the meeting was not effective. Two ordinances and a new Vice-Mayor are sufficient to claim that the City Commission used the time profitably. That is why it is challenging to mention that any changes could have led to more optimal results.
In addition to that, it is rational to comment on the legal authority that allows the City Commission to function. The City Charter and the City Code of Ordinances are the leading documents that govern the City Commission’s activities. Article I of the City Charter demonstrates that Ordinance No. 1173 regulates the separation of powers in the City of Cocoa Beach government (Municode Website, 2021). Ordinances No. 635, 768, 1173, 1483, 1517, and 1601 govern the City Commission composition and term limits of its members (Municode Website, 2021). It is also necessary to explain that specific legal regulations determine what issues are within the City Commission’s jurisdiction. For example, the board deals with residential density limits, building height limits, comprehensive plan adoption, and others as per Ordinances No. 1173, 1236, 1483, and 1626 (Municode Website, 2021). Furthermore, specific ordinances stipulate what requirements individuals should meet to become a Mayor or Commissioner, how often board meetings should be held, and many others.
According to the information above, it is possible to conclude that the City Commission’s activity has a solid legal justification. The City Charter and appropriate ordinances explain how the board should act and why this establishment has the power to do it. This state of affairs denotes that the City of Cocoa Beach adequately approached the legislative aspect of its governance system to ensure that the practical and valid decision-making system is at hand.
It is also necessary to explain what peculiarities the City Commission’s decisions have. In general, the board regulations are bindings for the city and all its citizens. However, individuals and legal entities have an opportunity to appeal a decision following a specific procedure. According to the City of Cocoa Beach (2021b), a significant condition is to have a verbatim record or transcript of a meeting to file an appeal. This requirement is necessary because the City Commission does not provide the transcripts that are appropriate for official court proceedings (City of Cocoa Beach, 2021b). If an individual has such a document, they are free to appeal any decision made by the City Commission according to the appeal regulations in the United States, in general, and Florida, in particular.
In conclusion, the research paper has summarized the City of Cocoa Beach Commission meeting held on November 18, 2021. The board consists of a few high-ranking officials and administrative staff members and gathers on a monthly basis to make essential decisions. For example, the meeting under analysis took place to adopt two ordinances and appoint a new Vice-Mayor. Even though the City Commission failed to consider a height variance request, it is still possible to claim that the meeting was efficient and productive, meaning that no modifications could have been added. It has also been found that a specific legal document, the City Charter, and multiple ordinances are the legal authority that allows the board to function. Consequently, the City Commission is an example of a government body that effectively performs its duties and serves the general public.
City of Cocoa Beach. (2021a). City Commission meeting minutes. Web.
City of Cocoa Beach. (2021b). Meeting agenda. Web.
Municode Website. (2021). Code of ordinances City of Cocoa Beach. Web.