Broward County appoints new mayor, vice mayor

Dale Holness gets unanimous nod from fellow commissioners

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Broward County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Dale V.C. Holness as the county's next mayor.

Holness, of District 9, had served as the vice mayor before he was promoted to the office for the next year full year.

Steve Geller, of District 5, was sworn in as vice mayor.

Both appointments were confirmed on the heels of outgoing Mayor Mark Bogen's State of the County address, which highlighted efforts by the county while he was at the helm, including approving a $22 million budget for affordable housing, an increase in cruise industry activity and an unemployment rate below 3%. 

Bogen also recently stated that he wanted to block Boeing 737 MAX jets from landing at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, citing recent crashes that pose a risk to the community.

The office of mayor itself has also recently been in the news, as a group called Broward Citizens for an Elected Mayor has been petitioning for the office to be an electable position.

The group is pushing to bring the issue to a ballot as soon as 2020, allowing for a 2022 mayoral election. The Broward County Commission could bring it to a ballot sooner if six of the nine members voted to allow it.

If that doesn't happen, then the group must get 82,240 voter signatures.

Voters opposed a strong-mayor referendum in 2002, which would have aligned the county's commission to how Miami-Dade County does.

Palm Beach County operates the same way Broward County does, with the mayor appointed to a one-year term by fellow commissioners, leading the commission and having elevated responsibility in times of natural disasters and relief efforts.

Questions on the depth and breadth of power the position would carry, plus opposition from existing commissioners, make a ballot measure all the more difficult for its supporters.