Everyone in Miami-Dade who cares about good government and its leaders is familiar with Merrett Stierheim. He came up through the ranks in this county to the post of county manager, where he served longer than almost anyone in that position. Just prior to ending his county tenure, he engineered the appointment of Angela Gittens, a nationally respected airport director to that post here. Try as she could, Gittens couldn’t defeat a self-serving Board of County Commissioners with regard to many airport issues, especially contracts, where the campaign money was for the majority of the commissioners.
The Herald has detailed an incredible number of Stierheim’s accomplishments. Besides Gittens, I remember him for dealing with the incorporation of wealthy areas of the county in order to spend their tax money locally. Key Biscayne opened the flood gates in 1991. It was a wealthy “donor community” that felt it was not receiving appropriate county services for its money. Unlike Pinecrest, Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach and others that followed, Key Biscayne could not annex the fish.
All communities that followed crafted their boundaries so as to exclude their neighboring “recipient community.” Every new municipality took a large chunk of money out of the Unincorporated Municipal Services Area that provided for the entire county.
Incorporations were put on hold just prior to Miami Lakes going forward. Stierheim met with his staff, commissioners and community activists and crafted a mitigation policy that would allow donor communities to go forward while contributing to the maintenance of their less-wealthy neighbors.
Merrett Stierheim has served with excellence and has been called upon by cities and boards for his expertise since retirement.
The city of Doral hired Stierheim to help find a new city manager. However, newly elected Mayor Luigi Boria appointed an almost forgotten, controversial politician, Joe Corollo, to the post.
Instead of quietly accepting the position, Carollo took us back to the days when Miami was called a banana republic instead of the world class city it is becoming. Shame on Carollo for his vicious lies about a world-class government servant.
Alan Rigerman, Palm Springs North