Miami Beach

Miami Beach commission to interview city manager candidates

 

Miami Beach residents can watch city commissioners interview candidates for city manager this week.

If you go

What: City manager selection

When: 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday and 4 p.m. on Thursday

Where: Miami Beach City Hall, 1700 Convention Center Drive


cveiga@MiamiHerald.com

Miami Beach could have a new city manager by Thursday, and residents can sit in on the interview process to choose the city’s next top administrator.

Six candidates are vying for the job. They will be interviewed publicly on Wednesday at Miami Beach City Hall.

On Thursday, commissioners will meet one-on-one with each candidate, and convene at a public meeting at 4 p.m. to decide how to move forward with the selection.

At that time, the elected officials could decide to whittle down the list even further or nominate their choice for the city’s top administrator.

“This is one of the most important decisions we’re making,” said Vice Mayor Michael Góngora.

Competing for the job are:

• Steve Barwick, long-time city manager of Aspen, Colo., a high-end ski resort town with a population of less than 7,000.

• Monica Cepero, assistant to Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry and former policy coordinator for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

• Thomas Wilson, assistant city manager of development services in Palm Springs, Calif., a city of 45,000.

• Emanuel Mayer, president of Mayer Development Group and a former special assistant to the Miami Beach city manager on capital improvements projects. He is also the husband of 2009 Miami Beach commission candidate Maria Mayer.

• Jimmy Morales, a former Miami-Dade County commissioner who unsuccessfully ran for county mayor in 2004.

Robert Frank — city manager of Ocoee, a city of 36,000 residents near Orlando, and a current Broward Sheriff’s Office reserve deputy — dropped out of the running, according to Góngora.

Miami Beach has a commission/city manager form of government, which means that elected officials make policy decisions and the city manager implements them. The city manager is responsible for the day-today business of the city, and is in charge of most of the city’s hiring and firing of employees.

The Beach has been without a top administrator since July, when former city manager Jorge Gonzalez was forced out amid a slew of public corruption investigations — though he was never implicated, and he reported some of the problems to authorities himself.

Miami Beach’s new city manager will have to help clean up the city’s image. In recent months, the Beach’s procurement director was arrested on charges of bid-rigging , according to prosecutors, and seven fire and code inspectors were arrested for shaking down nightclubs and running fake cocaine for undercover federal agents.

The city also is undertaking a massive, public-private endeavor to revamp the city’s aging convention center. That project, considered among the most significant in the country, is estimated to cost up to $1 billion.

Miami Herald reporter David Smiley contributed to this report.

Follow @Cveiga on Twitter.

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