Thursday, September 15, 2016

Get to Know Raquel Regalado, Candidate for Mayor: On Running the County Government and Zika Problem Solving. By Geniusofdespair

This is how leadership of the County should work (G.o.d.) :

Many employees in the public service are interested in knowing what to expect after I am elected mayor of Miami-Dade County, an office that is responsible "for the management of all administrative departments of the County government.” For the thousands of talented and dedicated employees who choose to work in public service out of a desire to serve the community, I say better days are ahead.

Because we can do better. And, together, we will.

In my administration, there will be opportunities for advancement based on merit and accomplishments. Innovation will be encouraged. Our community has many challenges, and no one person has all the solutions. As an attorney who is accustomed to a collaborative work environment, I will always seek the input of professional staff. Subject matter experts in the departments should be prepared to offer ideas and suggestions, knowing that they will be considered and respected. Front-line employees delivering services to the community will be encouraged to provide feedback on their experiences. It is my contention that every position in county government is created to address a specific need for our citizens. Every position is important, and every position has a purpose.

I am being elected to change the course of the county, so, naturally, there will be changes during the first-year to reorganize county government. The bulk of the work will be reorganizing, streamlining and refocusing departments and procedures so that county government works. During this process, career staff may be reassigned to positions better suited for their talents. That said, the outcome of this election should not be a concern for the professional public administrators and public servants of Miami-Dade County. Administrators with institutional knowledge are very much in demand and will be valued by my administration. Many people have retired or separated from county service for more stable employment in recent years. To counter this personnel challenge, department directors -- as part of their new accountability paradigm -- will be required to submit quarterly succession planning reports.

When I am mayor, we will work together to strengthen the administrative capacity of county government and regain the trust of our citizens. Trust in county government has eroded under the current mayor due to his reckless budgets, his hostility toward citizen initiatives, and his spiteful comments about county workers. To restore respect for county government, every county employee must renew their commitment to serving the citizens openly, honestly, and fairly. Working together, we can not only earn the trust of the public again but also establish a positive working environment for all of our employees.

A reorganization of county government to unstack the vertical, authoritarian nature of the current administration is a must. As a regional government, Miami-Dade has a wide variety of distinct service lines that all require uniquely qualified, skilled leadership. My table of organization will be much more horizontal. Communication and engagement with stakeholders will be key to improving the responsiveness of county government. There will be no deputy mayors in my office. I will be accountable to the voters, and department directors will be accountable to me.

Directors will have wide latitude to manage their operations. To the greatest extent possible, operational authority will be delegated. Department directors are executives, so I expect them to be fully responsible for the management of their departments. Directors will be subjected to annual performance evaluations to ensure the expectations of the citizens are being met. Similarly, there will also be open and honest communication with my office so that necessary changes are made before a crisis arises.

The elected office I seek has been granted broad powers by the citizens, as they truly want an individual who is directly accountable for all the actions of county government. I am prepared to be accountable to the citizens, and will appoint a team of the best and the brightest to deliver quality services to our residents. Fair and open competition for county positions will be a hallmark of my administration. Rebuilding the administrative capacity of the metropolitan government is crucial to our success. I am not interested in yes men and yes women. I am interested in innovative, courageous and skilled individuals that will aid me in charting the course for the future of Miami-Dade.

True success is never achieved in isolation or through brash arrogance masquerading as leadership. Organizational success emerges when every worker contributes his or her skills and talents toward the common goal. Our overall goal will be to provide the best services possible, utilizing the most efficient means, in order to win the confidence and trust of our citizens. I am confident that the workforce of Miami-Dade County is anxious to show they are the best in the business. When I am elected mayor, the employees of the county will be given every opportunity to shine.

Now more than ever, I need the support of the hardworking men and women of Miami-Dade County government, first with your vote on November 8th and then during the transition from November 9th to my swearing in on November 22nd. You have my word that, unlike the current mayor, I believe in and will support you. I will protect the public sector from privatization and forge a working environment that will make you proud to be an employee of Miami-Dade County.

Raquel Regalado ON ZIKA:

In the fight to protect our residents and visitors from the Zika virus, it is important to understand the role of county government. Miami-Dade has countywide responsibility to control the mosquitoes that spread this disease. The focus is on a domestic mosquito known as Aedis Aegypti. Until a vaccine is available, county government clearly needs to focus all its energy on controlling the population of these particular disease-carrying mosquitoes.

In November, as your newly elected Mayor, I will restore Mosquito Control operations to a fully-functional division with scientists, laboratory technicians, mapping specialists, and qualified field inspectors. The control of mosquitoes is not emergency response work to be conducted by short-term hired contractors. With so much at stake, and so much unknown about the consequences of exposure to Zika, our residents and visitors must be assured that qualified public service professionals are fully engaged in proactive, sustained, multi-year efforts to control the spread of Zika by these mosquitoes.

This is a countywide responsibility that requires continuous access to scientific environmental data. Under the current Administration, this vital function to protect public health has been relegated to a side-job under the department responsible for garbage collection and disposal in the unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County. The results of this poor management decision are clear and at the heart of the crisis we now face.

Under my administration, Mosquito Control will be assigned to an independent department with countywide jurisdiction. Historically, the Mosquito Control was a function of Public Works. Mosquito Control will be positioned to take maximum advantage of scientific data and opportunities to coordinate efforts with skilled field staff.

My first order of business will be to have the Director of Mosquito Control implement a mosquito monitoring and data collection network throughout every neighborhood in our roughly 1,000 square miles of urban areas. To the greatest extent possible, I will seek collaboration with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the 37 municipalities in the county. Utilizing public school sites, with the assistance of science faculty, and municipal parks, assisted by municipal employees, we may be able to greatly expand critical data collection and ensure that it is truly countywide.

Identifying the areas where the Aedis Aegypti mosquitoes are breeding is critical. We need to be able to warn the public when this particular species of mosquito is present prior to a crisis and the intervention of the Center for Disease Control. Miami-Dade's Mosquito Control needs to rapidly respond to breeding sites and do its job of controlling mosquito populations before anyone gets infected.

In determining the best methodologies to eradicate the particular species of mosquitoes that are transmitting Zika, I will expect the Director of Mosquito Control to engage the scientific and medical communities and formulate a recommendation. The recommended course of action will be available to the public for comment and review prior to implementation. Every alternative measure will be considered before any questionable chemicals or methods are ever authorized.

Reducing the breeding of mosquitoes on vacant and abandoned private properties presents a unique challenge. We may need to seek legislative authorization to access and curtail mosquito breeding on such properties. This is an issue, I will explore with the County Attorney. If it is necessary to amend State Statutes to be able to lien properties at the expense of eliminating conditions that are conducive to mosquito breeding, we will work with our Legislative Delegation to pass appropriate legislation.

Due to our unique climate and our highly transient international community, we will need to commit to a long-term strategy to combat the spread of disease by mosquitoes. Because today it is Zika. But in 2013, the fear was Dengue Fever. And next year, it could be something else. That's why every January, I will convene a Mosquito Control Summit with the participation of all our municipal officials to hear of their efforts and seek their support for county measures. This summit will be open to the public. My approach will be to share as much information with the public, as soon as it's available.

Every eradication action we take to combat this species of domestic mosquitoes should be subject to alerts pushed out to the community. The best way to restore trust in the decisions of local government is through communication. In addition to emails and press releases, we will explore the possibility of reverse 311 telephone service, and text alert registries to ensure that residents and visitors are informed of any and all countermeasures being taken in their particular neighborhood by Mosquito Control.

Working with concerned citizens, elected county and city officials, as well as scientific and medical experts, I am confident the residents of Miami-Dade County will rise to the occasion. To prevent the spread of this life-threatening Zika virus, we require everyone to pull together and fully embrace a comprehensive effort.

Through open and honest dialogue, a plan can be crafted that will succeed. We may be the first community to be subjected to a federal travel warning, but under my administration, we will also be the first community to effectively rid this disease from a metropolitan, urban region and establish the best practices in the area of mosquito control.


Anonymous said...

This community is hungry for a change. Only self serving lobbyists don't want Raquel in office. But the time has come for a clean, open government and its time for the county to have a woman in charge. She won't disappoint

Anonymous said...

I will be voting for her. It is time for a change. The only reason she would lose is because people don't know her.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a different and refreshing tone!
As a County employee, I am recommending her to everyone I know.

ZWoman said...

I will absolutely vote for her as I did in the primary. She will be a fantastic mayor. Gimenez needs to go.