Miami Beach

Broward government executive drops outs of Miami Beach city manager race

Monica Cepero has dropped out of Miami Beach’s search for a city manager.

Currently an assistant to the Broward County administrator, Cepero was one of three finalists being considered for the job.

In a letter emailed to city commissioners at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Cepero wrote: “The nature of this process has made it clear to me that this position is not the right one for me, at this time.”

Miami Beach has been without a city manager since July 2012, when former City Manager Jorge Gonzalez was forced to resign amid corruption scandals — though he was never implicated in any, and actually reported some of the shenanigans himself to law enforcement.

The city conducted a nationwide search for a new top administrator, which is when Cepero applied for the position. But commissioners were unhappy with the candidates brought forward by a headhunter, and added their own to the mix.

“She may be questioning the commission’s seriousness in finalizing this process,” Vice Mayor Michael Góngora said.

Cepero called the search for a new city manager “protracted” and noted in her letter that she was the only finalist who had been involved in the search from the beginning. The other two finalists — former Miami-Dade County commissioner and current Doral City Attorney Jimmy Morales, and longtime City of Miami administrator Frank Rollason — were handpicked by commissioners to be considered for the position.

Cepero did not return a phone call for comment.

Miami Beach Commissioner Jerry Libbin was reluctant to speculate about why Cepero has withdrawn her name from the process.

“I tend to take people at face value. There’s no reason for me to think there’s anything more or anything less,” than what’s included in her letter, Libbin said.

Góngora and Libbin are running for mayor in the November election.

Cepero also wrote that other municipalities have contacted her for city manager positions during the Miami Beach search, but that the other job offers didn’t affect her decision.

“My decision to withdraw is based on my evaluation of a mutual fit with the organization,” she wrote.

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