The Miami Springs council faced the reality at Monday night’s regular meeting that they had hoped to put off as long as possible. City Clerk Magali Valls, who has been in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) for close to the maximum of five years, had notified the administration that her last day on the job would be July 5, 2013.
Valls, who has worked for the city for more than 21 years and has been the City Clerk since 1994, has been a valuable asset to every council member, providing answers to questions of fact and information about the history of government in Miami Springs.
The obvious replacement for Valls would be Deputy Clerk Suzie Hitaffer, but she, too, is in the DROP and has less than two years until retirement. Although Hitaffer was not asked if she was interested in the job or if she planned to apply, the council agreed to a succession plan.
There was a sigh of relief when it was learned that Valls was willing to stay on as City Clerk for an undetermined period while the recruitment process was taking place. Starting after her retirement date, Valls would continue in her role as a part-time employee, working up to 59 hours over any two-week period. The city and Valls had agreed to an hourly wage of $50, less than she currently earns including benefits.
“It is great that Magali is willing to do this and we thank her for all her years of service,” said Councilman Billy Bain, “but we need to stay the process and find a replacement so she can get on with retiring and do the things she wants to do.”
The vote was unanimous to begin the succession plan immediately and to approve the recruitment process that was presented by Human Resources Director Loretta Boucher. The city clerk position pays in a range of $71,000 to more than $95,000 in yearly salary, plus benefits.
Boucher’s plan includes advertising for the position and an initial screening to determine candidates meet the minimum qualifications. All qualified resumes would be presented to council and Boucher would recommend up to 10 candidates to be interviewed. Council would then conduct an interview workshop and rate the candidates in priority order.
The top three candidates to replace Valls as city clerk would be chosen in order at a special or regular meeting and City Manager Ron Gorland, along with City Attorney Jan Seiden, would present the job offer to candidate No. 1.
It is expected that Valls will remain on the job at least until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, due to the July recess when council does not meet and the length of the process to find her replacement.
In other news,
• Presented the Yard of the Month for June to Jorge Montero and Marta Varona, who live at 162 DeLeon Drive in Miami Springs.
• Approved the purchase of a new Vac-Con Truck to the lowest bidder at a cost of $271,195. According to Public Works Director Tom Nash, the old truck, purchased in 1998 for $167,000, had been inactive for 35 days and needed almost $30,000 in repairs. The expenditure comes out of the $800,000 storm water fund and is not a part of the current budget.
• Tabled the second reading of an ordinance enacting new provisions in red-light camera enforcement, awaiting Governor Rick Scott’s signature on state law provisions passed by the Florida Legislature.
• Tabled both an ordinance updating the City Code with regards to parking of commercial vehicles in residential areas and the recommended revisions regarding commercial vehicles in commercial districts within the city.
• Appointed Councilman Jaime Petralanda as the Miami Springs voting delegate at the Florida League of Cities Annual Convention in Orlando on Aug. 15-17, 2013.
• Waived the competitive bidding process unanimously and approved an expenditure of $151,224 to Greater Miami Caterers for catering services for the senior center’s nutrition programs for the elderly.
• Voted 4-0 to approve a $2,000 donation from the City Event Fund to the Miami Springs/Virginia Gardens Optimist Club for their Fishing Tournament Event held at the Circle on June 8, 2013. Councilman George Lob abstained because he is a board member of the Optimist Club.
• Set the date of Wednesday Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. for a Workshop Meeting to discuss possible revisions and policy changes to the Code of Ordinances.
• Announced that the Miami-Dade County Annexation Committee’s next meeting was scheduled for Thursday, July 11 at 9:30 a.m.