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.