A cantankerous Miami Beach City Commission decided on Thursday to narrow down the number of candidates vying to become the city’s next manager.
Three locals made the cut: Monica Cepero, Jimmy Morales and Frank Rollason.
Cepero is currently an assistant to the county administrator in nearby Broward, and also worked in Tallahassee as a policy coordinator for the governor from 2000 - 2007.
Morales is the current city attorney of Doral and a former Miami-Dade County commissioner who unsuccessfully ran for county mayor in 2004.
Rollason served as interim city manager and later assistant city manager in Miami, and more recently as the executive director of that city’s Omni redevelopment agency.
The process of finding a new top administrator to lead Miami Beach has been fraught with bickering and accusations.
Commissioners were at first unhappy with the candidates brought forward by recruiting firm Bob Murray and Associates, so the commission chose to extend its search and they added a few of their own candidates to the running. Morales and Rollason were among those suggested by commissioners.
On Thursday, Mayor Matti Herrera Bower suggested that Commissioner Ed Tobin had done something inappropriate during the selection process, though she wasn’t specific.
Bower said Tobin wanted Morales to get the job, and add another city manager candidate, Emanuel Mayer, as assistant city manager. Sure enough, that’s what Tobin suggested Thursday.
Tobin said Thursday he had simply told a number of people in the community that he liked that arrangement, because “different people have different strengths,” but that nothing inappropriate had happened.
“Somehow, someone got you excited about the idea that someone did something wrong,” Tobin said to the mayor.
Miami Beach, a city of 90,000, has been without a city manager 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.
The commission will reconvene before 30 days to make a final selection.
Follow @Cveiga on Twitter.