Amid tough talk about severance negotiations, Miami Beach commissioners may have unwittingly given their ousted city manager an extra $45,000 in unused leave and allowed him to fatten his pension while sitting at home.
Commissioners forced Jorge Gonzalez to resign, but then voted in June to allow him to burn a cache of sick and leave hours through bi-weekly checks. The intent, they say, was only to allow Gonzalez to continue receiving city health coverage.
But commissioners didn’t clarify that Gonzalez should receive only the 50 percent value of his sick time that would have been available in a lump sum. That means Gonzalez, who began burning time off on Thursday, will get an extra 400 hours of sick time and boost the value of his leave from $168,000 to $213,000, according to Human Resources figures provided last month.
Also, employees on leave typically remain active pension fund members, so Gonzalez’s pension — worth $125,000 as of September — may continue to grow.
Gonzalez, 45, may also be due as much as $501,000 in a severance package.
Commissioners on Wednesday were poised to rescind their June vote, but Mayor Matti Herrera Bower abruptly adjourned the meeting.
City Attorney Jose Smith said his staff is weighing options regarding Gonzalez’s pension and paid time off, and severance negotiations will hopefully be completed by September.