Miami Beach renews city attorney’s contract

Jose Smith will be Miami Beach’s city attorney for two more years.

The City Commission on Wednesday renewed Smith’s contract, giving him a cost-of-living increase but decreasing his severance pay and taking away pay for planning days.

The changes mean that Smith, who has represented the city for seven years, will make less money over the next two years, he told commissioners. How much less was not immediately clear: No figures were given at Wednesday’s meeting.

Smith voluntarily reduced his agreed-upon severance pay to 20 weeks and accepted Commissioner Jerry Libbin’s request to forgo 12 days of planning pay, which many city employees get. The planning days can be taken essentially as vacation days, or, if not taken, can be paid out at the end of the year, according to officials at the meeting.

Commissioners Michael Gongora and Ed Tobin cast the only votes against the contract.

Gongora said the city shouldn’t accept a contract — let alone severance pay — because it’s not the norm in the private sector.

Libbin said he was against an automatic 3 percent cost-of-living increase for all city employees.

Smith told commissioners he plans to retire after his two years are up, when he is 65.

But he received a vote of confidence from one commissioner:

“I think what you provide is consistency in this time of turmoil,” said Commissioner Jorge Exposito.

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