At 7:30 a.m., Ana Garcia began her day first day as North Miami Beach manager by taking a drive through the city.
I like to do a lot of observations at different times from different points, said Garcia, 51. I come and go every day in a different way to see a new street, a different median.
After about an hour of driving, Garcia strolled into her office, which is currently filled with flowers, notes and gifts from people wishing her well in her new role.
On Tuesday, Garcia was sworn in as the citys third manager in the past three years. Her base salary is $157,500.
Mayor George Vallejo, who helped spearhead the effort to find a new manager, believes Garcia is the right person for the job.
She has the right combination of smarts, experience and a proven ability to get results, he said in an interview after the swearing in. There will be stability, now and I am confident we have the right leader now.
The former Biscayne Park village manager is coming to the city with about two decades worth of experience from working in various municipalities in Miami-Dade County.
Some of her colleagues from those municipalities including elected officials along with her family and North Miami Beach residents, were in attendance at the ceremony.
Im excited for her, said former Mayor Eugene Flinn of Palmetto Bay, where Garcia worked as the villages first director of community services and parks and recreation. The support she gave us in Palmetto Bay she was one of the catalysts that got our village parks going, and I was excited when she came in. She did great things.
In North Miami Beach, Garcia said one of her first goals is to develop a strategic plan.
I will personally make an assessment of all of the departments, she said, adding that there also needs to be an assessment of the city as a whole. From that strategic plan, we need to come up with priorities.
Garcia said she is looking to improve the city and welcomes the challenges that are ahead of her.
I always see problems as opportunity, Garcia said as she got up from her desk and picked up a rock with a quote from Albert Einstein on it.
It reads: In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
The rock was given to her about 20 years ago, and Garcia makes sure to place it somewhere in her office thats within her line of vision.
So basically, if your life is all smooth sailing your character is not really tested, Garcia said. But when youre faced with challenges and difficulties it gives you the opportunity to find solutions and maybe do it better than youve done before.
Garcia says she believes the city is in need of a leader and she plans to take on that role.
I know that there are challenges ahead, but up I am up for the challenge, she said.