Miami Herald, by
March 6, 2017
Married couple Martin Marquez and Kathie Marquez — who are each running for seats on the Miami Springs city council — have assured the Miami-Dade ethics commission that if both are elected they’d have no problem upholding Florida’s strict Sunshine Law.
“We have been married for 37 years and most of the time can communicate without speaking as we are soul mates,” the couple wrote to Joseph Centorino, the ethics commission’s executive director and general counsel.
“We are not your ordinary couple as we are very disciplined in everything that we do and do not have the distraction of children complicating our life or daily routines,” the Marquezes continued. “We do not maintain any joint accounts and never have or will so that would not pose a problem. Avoiding prohibited communications would not be a problem as we both fully understand the laws and implications thereof.”
If both are elected, the Marquezes would likely be the first married couple to serve simultaneously on a Florida city council or commission.
In 1989, the wife of an incumbent councilman in the Palm Beach County town of Lake Clarke Shores briefly flirted with the idea of running and serving with her husband. Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth issued an opinion at the time that Florida’s anti-nepotism law “does not prohibit a husband and wife from simultaneously serving on the same town council.”
On Thursday, the Marquezes sought an “official determination” via email from the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust to double-check whether there were any county or state laws that might preclude them from running or serving together on the city council.
Centorino respond a day later:
“It is my opinion that there is no legal prohibition against you or your wife occupying seats on the City of Miami Springs City Council, I must counsel and advise you that such an arrangement is likely to damage the public trust, and is, therefore, highly discouraged,” he wrote, warning the Marquezes that if both are elected, it would likely “create a questionable appearance that would lead some observers to believe that violations of the Sunshine Law were occurring.” [READ MORE]