Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A quick look at the Miami Beach Candidates for City Manager. Guest blog by Mr. Sunny

Will Miami Beach residents see more city manager shenanigans tomorrow? I will be watching the Commissioners very intently to see how the hiring process moves forward.    Since none of the candidates have been in Chambers for an interview and the Commission has met off camera to discuss the hiring process, I can only  comment based on what I've seen on MBTV, what is in the newspaper, comments from friends and news on the Internet.
The Miami Herald listed the current applicants and noted Mayor Matti Bower's "dismay" about Commissioners adding names to the list of candidates recommended by the recruiter.   
The resumes are on the City's webpage 
Steve Barwick from Aspen, Colorado - Excellent resume. He has worked as a city manager in a tourist town.  This stood out on his resume: "Directed radical changes to City of Aspen culture and internal control systems leading to dramatic productivity."  Despite this, can he handle a beach town after the snows of Aspen? Life in Miami Beach is very different from a mid-western town so can he adjust to the rough and tumble of Miami and Miami Beach?  Aspen only has 7,000 residents and I was told Miami Beach has 100,000.  Can he adjust to that?  I like the  idea of an outsider coming in to look at our City.  Fresh eyes wouldn't be a bad idea.
Tom Wilson, Palm Springs - Excellent resume with solid experience and he is trained as a lawyer. We can always use that with all the lawsuits and investigations.  Palm Springs is a tourist town and he has past city manager experience.  Palm Springs is in a hot climate and located near a large city. This is similar situation as Miami Beach.  Palm Springs has a large gay population. I wonder why he went from city manager in Milpitas California to assistant city manager in Palm Springs. Was he fired since there is an 8-month gap between the jobs?  Will he like Miami Beach and Florida after living in California all those years? Again, though, new eyes and a fresh perspective could be just what we need.  I like his cover letter: "create a positive, supportive environment that produces accountable, superior staff performance and initiate comprehensive review of city financial processes and institute appropriate improvements to ensure fairness, efficiency and transparency." Good words to me.
Frank Rollason - He has a long history in Miami and an impressive resume though I do not like the essay style of the resume.  It takes a lot to read and pull out the relevant experience.  While I want to be open minded, his experience in Miami makes me wonder.  Miami has a long history of bad management with an even longer history of corruption.  Can Rollason be independent and fearless about addressing corruption or mismanagement? My anger has been about how everyone seems to keep turning a blind eye to corruption and Miami is not on the forefront of combating corruption and politics as usual. I would ask Mr. Rollason  to be very specific about how he would change the culture and clean house.
Monica Cepero - Accomplished with an impressive work history but none as a City Manager.  Being a City Manager does not equal success and similar to people form out of state, not having the specific experience might bring a fresh perspective. I think the City should hire for skill, maturity and other related experience.  It looks like Cepero has managed teams and large budgets. One item that jumps out at me is her specific reference to her being bilingual which she notes gives her an opportunity to "personally relate and easily communicate with the City's diverse population."  Being sensitive to diversity cuts across all cultures not specifically to Hispanics. Will she exhibit the same sensitivity to our Black employees and residents? What about the White, non-Hispanic ones? Hispanics are not a minority in Miami so this seemed an unnecessary comment to make. Why did she leave PBS&J?  She was there less than a year and there is a gap between that and the next job.  The next question is one I feel uncomfortable asking since it is about politics.  She lists herself as a lobbyist.  On SAVE DADE's site she is described as a "seasoned political insider." The political kind of politics should not be part of the city manager job and I assume Ms. Cepero is a professional but I have to wonder if we won't see those types of politics since she is a "political insider." I am going to guess Ms Cepero has favors to return since she worked for Jeb Bush for a number of years and her partner is an appointee of Rick Scott.
Jimmy Morales - Impressive resume as well.  Mr. Morales, also, doesn’t have city manager experience. Again, experience in other areas is just as relevant and an opportunity for a fresh eyes on our problems.  You don't see many Harvard graduates applying for government jobs in Miami.  His cover letter addresses not having city manager experience: "Yet I have faced virtually all of the challenges confronting the City from positions of responsibility across the entire range of government operations, including responsibilities as an elected official (county commissioner), budgetary chair, major public infrastructure projects, city attorney, special counsel for collective bargaining, corporate counsel, litigation counsel, special master, as well as on community boards and service organizations and as a civic advocate." He's been chair of code enforcement in Miami.   Miami Beach has a special master here, we need someone with experience with unions, he has experience with infrastructure and managing staff and he is trained as a lawyer.  He has been a County Commissioner so can relate to our Commissioners.  What about connections to Miami? This is the same question I posed about Rollason.  Can he be fearless in cutting through the mess here and doing what needs to be done?
Robert Frank, Ocoee, Florida. Mr. Frank is a city manager of a city with 36K residents. His resume seems slight in his experiences in positions prior to the his current one but in his current position as city manager he reduced healthcare costs, oversaw negotiations of fire and police union contracts and implemented organizational changes in some departments. He was an engineer for a Fort Lauderdale utilities and public works director. He is currently a reserve deputy sheriff. He is outside of Miami so he may not fall prey to local politics. Ocoee seems to place few demands on city services since the budget is only $60 million so can he handle all of the employees in Miami Beach and the demands of the different departments and all the residents? Why did he move from Deputy County Manager with much more responsibility to Ocoee's city manager? I hope the Commissioners will grill him on what he knows of the current investigations and his approach to handling them since his cover letter makes no mention of this.
Emmanuel Mayer - I can't find his resume, was an assistant City Manager.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Mr. Sunny.

Lala said...

Isn't Frank Rollason the same guy who, as the Community Redevelopment Agency Director for the City of Miami, took his attractive young assistant, Susana Gutierrez, out to Tropical Park to ride police horses in the middle of the workday? She had a tragic accident while riding alongside her boss, fell off her horse, hit her head and died. The city paid a significant legal settlement to the Gutierrez family because of the obvious reckless and negligent behavior. Based on that bizarre incident, why on earth would anyone consider hiring Rollason as their city manager?

Anonymous said...

Tropical Park was not anywhere near Frank Rollason's Community Redevelopment Agency borders. Out riding police horses in the middle of a work day? Exactly what you would expect of City of Miami administrators. Is that what the residents of Miami Beach want?

Anonymous said...

Aside from the Tropical Park incident cited above, as a former Miami fireman, Rollason is part of the County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and County Fire Chief "Shorty Bryson" cabal.

Anonymous said...

Fireman Carlos Gimenez and ex-City of Miami Fire Chief Shorty Bryson are a large part of the reason the City of Miami was financially burdened by the highest paid firemen in the world. 30 firemen making over $300,000 per year in 2007-2010? Working 4 day weeks? No wonder Miami faces annual deficits.