Ethics Commission Board Members
The Ethics Commission was created in 1996 as a result of a citizens' vote to amend the Home Rule charter. It is an independent agency with advisory and quasi-judicial powers. It is composed of five members, each serving staggered terms of four years at a time.
- The Chief Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit has two appointments with the following qualifications: Former Federal Judge, or former U.S. Magistrate, or former State Court Judge; and
Former U.S. Attorney or Assistant U.S. Attorney, former State or Assistant State Attorney, former County or Assistant County Attorney, or former City or Assistant City Attorney.
- The Deans of the University of Miami School of Law and St. Thomas University School of Law have one shared appointment of a faculty member who has taught a course in professional legal ethics or who has published or performed services in the field of professional legal ethics.
- The Miami-Dade League of Cities has one appointment of a member who has held local elective office.
- The Director of the Florida International University Center for Labor Research & Studies makes one appointment.
Each member must be a resident of Miami-Dade County. While serving on the Commission, a member cannot hold or campaign for an elective office or hold office in any political party or political committee.
The Ethics Commission is empowered to appoint the Executive Director, who must be a member of the Florida Bar. Robert Meyers was named Executive Director in 1998. Joseph Centorino has served in that capacity since 2011.
Judge Lawrence A. Schwartz was appointed to serve on the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust by Chief Circuit Court Judge Joel Brown in January 2013, shortly after his retirement from the bench. Judge Schwartz sat on the Circuit Court since his appointment by then-Governor Lawton Chiles in 1997. The Northeast Miami-Dade resident won election to County Court in 1991 and served in all divisions until his elevation.
Schwartz received an Associate Degree from what was then known as Dade County Junior College, a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Oklahoma and a Master's Degree in Education from Florida Atlantic University. Schwartz taught sixth grade for five years at Lake Stevens Elementary in Carol City. After earning his Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Schwartz was a deputy district attorney in Sacramento, California, for a dozen years. The Miami Beach native returned home in 1987 to work as an Assistant State Attorney in the 11th Judicial Circuit prosecuting economic crimes.
H. Jeffrey Cutler, Esq. was appointed to the Ethics Commission in September 2015 by the Miami-Dade League of Cities. He is a Partner in the Coral Gables-based law firm of De La Cruz & Cutler, LLP, specializing in Civil, Corporate, Commercial, and Personal Injury Law and Litigation. Mr. Cutler was elected as a Councilmember of the Village of Pinecrest in November 2006, re-elected in November 2010, and served as Vice-Mayor from 2008 to 2009 and 2012 to 2013.
The native Miamian and University of Florida alumnus is also an active member in many national and local legal and business associations, including the American and Florida Bar Associations and Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. He volunteers as the Legal Counsel to the Howard-Palmetto Baseball & Softball Association, and also acts as Legal Counsel and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Miami-Dade Miracle League on a volunteer basis.
Nelson Bellido was appointed to the Ethics Commission by the Chief Judge of the Eleventh Circuit, Joel Brown, in July 2010. Mr. Bellido is a managing partner in the Miami-based law firm, Roig, Tutan, Rossenberg, Martin, Stoller, Zumpano & Bellido, where his main areas of practice are in complex commercial litigation, insurance and finance law, product liability and domestic and international disputes regarding debtor and creditor relationships, as well as shareholder and partnership disputes. Mr. Bellido is a former adjunct professor of Business Law at Florida Memorial College, worked with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office from 1993 to 1997, was a director of the Cuban American Bar Association, past president and director of the League of Prosecutors and has been serving on the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition Inc.’s board of directors for the past eight years.
Mr. Bellido received his juris doctor in from the University of Florida College of Law and earned an undergraduate degree of Political Science and History with emphasis on Latin American History from Duke University.
Judith Bernier is the Director of the Center for Labor Research and Studies at Florida International University (FIU), where the mission is to develop and raise awareness about the changing nature of work and workplace diversity. As a faculty member, Dr. Bernier teaches courses in labor relations and employment, global diversity and cultural competence, conflict resolution and mediation techniques, and vocational education. Her research focuses on equitable access to education and career mobility, strategic communication and leadership, and culturally competent engagement for social and behavioral change.
Dr. Bernier earned her Doctorate in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, Master’s in Human Resource Development, and Bachelor’s in Communication from Florida International University. She serves as a peer reviewer for academic journals in her field and is involved in several professional organizations. Dr. Bernier is a former adjunct professor at Miami-Dade College and worked as a human resource manager and trainer at a major retailer. She has been an Ethics Commissioner since May 2014.
Carol L. Zeiner has been a member of the law faculty at St. Thomas University since 2002. Prior to that, the Key Biscayne resident practiced law with two prestigious Florida-based firms and the in-house legal department of Wometco Enterprises. In 1991, she became the first College Attorney of Miami-Dade College where she created and managed the in-house legal department and provided legal advice and services to the College and the Board of Trustees for more than a decade.
A magna cum laude graduate of University of Miami School of Law, Prof. Zeiner earned her undergraduate degree at Florida State University. While in Tallahassee in 1970, Zeiner became the first female from FSU to compete in the women’s NCAA national swim meet, before the federal Title IX made gender discrimination illegal in college sports. In 2015, FSU presented her with its prestigious “Champions Beyond the Game” award. “I think it’s a great honor and a wonderful way to give back to the community,” Prof. Zeiner said of her appointment. Professor Zeiner joined the Ethics Commission in August 2017.
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