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Commissioner Joe Martinez suspended over corruption charges

Miami-Dade Commissioner, Joe Martinez, is facing suspension amid corruption charges

On Tuesday, weeks after Commissioner Joe Martinez's corruption charges arrest, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis suspended the Miami-Dade Commissioner. DeSantis has not yet announced the replacement for Martinez.

But considering that the Florida Constitution allows the governor to designate a replacement to serve the 215,000 residents of Miami- Dade District 11, that will undoubtedly happen. This news was released publicly in a press release without any mention of a substitute.

Joe Martinez’s legal team has issued a statement stating the commissioner supports whoever Governor DeSantis appoints. In this report, they also denied accusations and claimed they’re focused on clearing Martinez’s name.

Here’s all you need to know about the Joe Martinez matter.

What does the law say?

Joe Martinez was charged with two felonies associated with a $15,000 payment from an entrepreneur who could have profited from Martinez’s proposed legislation in 2017. However, Martinez didn’t let the legislation go through by withdrawing after filling it.

Regarding the payments, Martinez claims they were for a consulting job he did before taking his seat in 2016.

According to the Florida Constitution, the local Senate can choose whether to terminate or reinstate a suspended county officer. According to Senate regulations, if the suspended official is charged, the vote shouldn't occur until the criminal matter is over unless both parties consent to a quicker procedure.

In addition, DeSantis also has the authority to lift the suspension.

If Martinez were to be dismissed by the Senate or decides to resign from his position, a permanent vacancy would be left for Miami-Dade commissioners to fill until the upcoming elections. To fill this position, the board might either hold a special election or nominate a commissioner from District 11.

Since District 11 has no municipalities, DeSantis had no candidates for city-level offices to consider.

When was the suspension news released?

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After being detained for five hours at the Miami-Dade jail following his arrest, Martinez missed a commission meeting before showing up at the county's first 2023 budget hearing. Before a final vote was planned for Tuesday, he cast preliminary votes on the budget decrees. He was unsuccessful in getting his fellow board members to support a 3% reduction in the county's property tax rates outside of cities.

Hours before the final budget hearing, the suspension news of Joe Martinez was released. In a recent event, Governor DeSantis hinted at this suspension considering the charges.

Since August, this is the sixth time DeSantis has suspended an elected official. However, Martinez is the first Republican to face such consequences due to felony charges.

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