Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why Did The Miami Beach Commission Renew City Attorney Contract? Guest Blog By Mr. Sunny

Jose Smith the Miami Beach City Attorney, has been left unscathed by all the mayhem at Miami Beach City hall. Mr. Smith reports directly to the Commissioners. He worked alongside the former city manager George Gonzalez since 2006 and prior to that he was a City Commissioner. He supervises a staff of  9 Attorneys.

Why is his name coming up now? Thursday, the Commissioners renewed his contract. Wouldn't it make sense to turn one's gaze to Jose Smith for equal culpability for the mess in City Hall? Wouldn't one step to change the culture of the City be to clean house in the "leadership" that ran the ship aground in the first place?

Ask yourself these questions:

• Besides the city manager, who would be most clued into misdeeds at the City of Miami?
• Who would the city manager turn to for advice regarding sensitive subjects? Who, having once been a former Commissioner, would have the ear of the Commissioners and developers?
• Who would be responsible for directing internal investigations or handling corruption cases?

Jose Smith is the answer to all of the above but our Commissioners voted with blinders on. They agreed to let him keep his well paid position as the City's attorney. In January 2011, Jose Smith was paid an astonishing $220,565.54. Note that Miami Beach has approximately 100k residents. Compare that salary to the following:

The City Attorney of Los Angeles was paid, in 2010, $214,257. Los Angeles has 3.8 million residents vs. 100k in Miami Beach.

The City of Charlotte's attorney is paid $179k with a population of almost 751,000.

Nice work if you can get it: High pay and no accountability.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have great respect for Eye on Miami. You do some excellent work. You offer well thought-out ideas, solutions and opinions. You base you pieces on facts - clearly well-researched.

This post, like others by "Mr. Sunny," is so poorly written that I am embarrassed.

The writer asks some questions to lead us to believe that keeping Jose Smith on the job is a bad idea. But the answers do not bolster the writer's argument.

Jose Smith has absolutely no oversight for the staff in city hall - other than those in the City Attorney's office.

Miami Beach's former city manager, Jorge Gonzalez, was known to play his cards close to his chest. He had no reason to share personnel problems with Smith unless there was an issue that he was required by law to get Smith's opinion on. Smith and Gonzalez were not close at all.

Suggesting that Smith is "responsible for directing internal investigations or handling corruptions cases" is also factually wrong. That task is not in the law that created the City Attorney's office and no one ever asked him to do it.

The only point that has some merit is the concern about Smith's pay. The problem is that the rational contains an error. According to the last census figures, Miami Beach has an estimated population of 89,840, not "100K."

Please find someone else to write about Miami Beach. This kind of commentary is better saved for the end of a bar.

David said...

Lucia Doherty was a hands on city of Miami Beach attorney who knew everything. The attorney knows a lot more than you think reader or else he isn't doing his job.

Anonymous said...

An accurate description of what is going on in city hall, he is also involved in some real estate business that is not completely straight.

Anonymous said...

I agree Mr Sunny. Where does it end? Staff in the city are way overpaid and Jose Smith is no different. I ask the first commentator, are you a friend of Jose? You sound bitter. This is not the NY Times but definitely better than the Herald! The City attorney is supposed to be Miami Beach's lawyer. hwo could he not know what is going on? Isn't he supposed to give privileged legal advice to the city manager? I read an article about Jose saying he spoke to the Attorney General about some corruption case so he isn't involved in this stuff? Mr Sunny asks a legit question about Jose and all the City employees. Jose is getting paid more than the LA city attorney? LA has 3 million citizens. I bet that person manages many more lawyers than Jose does. What on earth do the staff do that they deserve to be paid so well? Police run over tourists and they get hired back. Staff make over a 100,000, and they do nothing. We have building inspectors that expect a tip after doing the job they are being paid well to do. Code compliance officers that won't write a violation and how many of them were arrested? Where does it end? I am so sick of it all. Throw the bums out!

Anonymous said...

Jose Smith should have taken early retirement. (Maybe he should have been fired?) The City of Miami Beach needs to clean house. Yes, of course, Jose Smith knew about the corruption at City Hall. What he did not know, he should have known. He needs to go.

Anonymous said...

Why not ask which commissioners knew (were in on what when on)? Gonzalez, caught the purchasing guy and the Building guys and took it to the State Attorney. They went to jail. How many other things did he take to Ms. Rundle? There was a lot going on with the Police Chief selection.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Tobin and Gongora voted against him. Tobin is probably still angry that Smith did not vote for Hunker for Police Chief. Gongora hasn't liked him for a while.

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Anonymous said...

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