Gomez sued former councilman Pete Cabrera earlier this year, along with former councilwoman Sandra Ruiz and Sergio Purriños, the former city manager.
Ruiz was recently reelected to the council. Cabrera lost a bid for mayor, coming in last in a three-man race.
The lawsuit alleged that the trio instigated a criminal investigation against Gomez because of a political fallout between Cabrera and former mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez. The plan was to discredit the chief and give the current administration a black eye, according to the lawsuit.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated Gomez last year after an anonymous letter was sent to the city manager accusing him of rigging bids to buy office furniture and the misappropriation of taxpayer money to help pay for a nearly $26,000 swearing-in ceremony at a Doral resort. He was later cleared by the State Attorney’s Office.
The Doral City Council decided to reimburse Gomez $17,242.90 in attorney fees stemming from the FDLE investigation
Boria and Cabrera, then serving on the council, voted against the reimbursement.
Cabrera had also been at odds with Soler McKinley, most recently accusing her of misappropriation of funds while purchasing furniture for the new city hall, an accusation she denied.
Candidate Frank Bolaños, a former school board member who lost to Boria last month, said Cabrera had asked if he’d be willing to fire the city manager and police chief and accused Boria and Cabrera of striking a deal.
Both men have adamantly denied Bolaños’ claim that a deal was struck.
Boria has noted that the Doral mayor does not have authority to fire the city manager or police chief.
But the city manager does.
The decision to eliminate Gomez came as a surprise, said Boria.
“It was a surprise to me,” Boria said. “But based on [Stierheim’s] concerns, I think he is right because he has more than enough experience to check the more than 100 pages of the report and realize something was wrong.”
In addition to Gomez , his executive assistant was also fired and a police lieutenant was placed on paid administrative leave. French said those actions were based on the review of the FDLE documents as well as an internal investigation conducted by the city’s police department.
Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez said the timing was suspicious.
“It seems too soon after the election not to be political, and not only that he was exonerated not too long ago,” Rodriguez said. “Something just doesn’t add up.”
Gomez will get paid for the 162 hours of personal time off he had accrued but will not get any other severance deal, according to French, the city spokeswoman.
Stierheim, a veteran in the public sector and a former Miami-Dade county manager who has also served as the public schools superintendent and interim city manager of Miami, was hand-picked by Boria to replace Soler McKinley and will be paid $9,500 a month for his services. Soler McKinley is leaving with a severance package that includes six months’ salary, totaling $88,364.64, six months of retirement contribution at 12 percent of salary and three months of health insurance.