Barbara Sharief Named Broward County's First Black Female Mayor

Categories: Broward, Politics

sharief.jpg
Barbara Muhammad Sharief has become Broward County's first black female mayor. Commissioners selected Sharief, 42, to be county mayor on Tuesday evening.

Sharief, who was raised in the Muslim faith, will be serving for one year in what is mainly a ceremonial role. But as a self-made businesswoman and mother of five children, she hopes she can use her position to bring attention to nonprofits and small businesses in the county.

She was also tagged for overbilling overbilling Medicaid nearly half a million dollars. But that didn't seem to mar the ceremony.

Sharief has plowed through tough times to get to where she is.

Her father, a clothing salesman, was shot and killed by a would-be robber when she was 14. She and her seven siblings grew up fatherless in Miami. Following the tragedy, she was forced to take on the responsibilities of a grownup and got a job to help her mother pay the bills.

But Sharief's father left an impact on her. Well-known in the Muslim community and an active member of the Masjid Al-Ansar Mosque in Miami, Sharief's father had headed a food program for the needy.

This has led her to champion nonprofits and small businesses.

Since being elected to the County Commission in 2010, Sharief has worked on health care and aggressive-dog issues. She was once a Republican but switched parties. As mayor, Sharief's main goal will be to help small business, buoyed by the slogan "Broward means business."

And though she hasn't been in a Muslim mosque since she was a teen, the community has embraced her.

Nezar Hamze, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in South Florida and a spokesman for Broward's 43,000 Muslims, called her appointment as mayor "absolutely fantastic.''

"I think it's just testimony to what Broward County is right now,'' Hamze said. "We're a majority minority community. And just looking at the elections in the last couple of years, we have a Jewish sheriff and now we have a Muslim mayor. So Broward County is really starting to reflect its diversity at the top.''

Sharief also hopes her selection will inspire others, especially little girls.

"In America, we are a culture of tolerance and diversity, and I think that for those people who see me and know my background, I think they'll appreciate that,'' she said.

Of course, it hasn't always been roses and sunshine with Sharief. Sharief's company, South Florida Pediatric Homecare, had been accused of overbilling Medicaid nearly half a million dollars between 2007 and 2011.

She eventually settled, agreeing to pay $588,889, including the amount she was overpaid, as well as almost $100,000 in fines.

An ethics complaint had been fined against Sarief, saying she failed to disclose assets and filed conflicting information about her own income in state and county filings.

Neither Sharief, nor her fellow commissioners, had any comments for any of this during Tuesday's ceremony.

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11 comments
frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................................actually STEALing anything less than $10 million in MEDICAID is a rounding error so over five years she stole about $150,ooo per year - so what ?

it proves it doesn't really matter WHO the commissioners are since they only take orders and vote accordingly...,.....OR ELSE they wouldn't have the poistions in the first place = period

honest persons need not apply

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII topcommenter

Wait a minute.  Another fraud artist gets a political gig. How does that even begin to make sense?

smdrpepper
smdrpepper topcommenter

And cue the anti Muslim tea baggers to come out of the woodwork to attack her.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...................................why take an HONEST person and make a crook out of them ?

lets just get crooks to start with and keep an open mind about it - so they steal - so what ?

SethPlatt
SethPlatt topcommenter

@smdrpepper Check the Sun-Sentinel's post they are having a cross burning party in the comment section. Pathetic.

ungerm
ungerm

@smdrpepper  As justified. Ripping off medicare and taxpayers for over $800k

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..............................the GOV was smart to make the value of his stock go up while allowing as the operating executive the mis-coding of medical procedures provided by his organizations hospitals to overbill the federal government - the CRIME thereby was disconnected from the BENEFIT derived

the COVER was that these hospitals employed many and provided community service to many so it was "safety" in numbers despite mismanagement,  waste,  and of course,  fraud

that old hobo or vagrant may be worth HUNDREDs of THOUSANDs of federal DOLLARs to the local private hospital !

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