Hialeah officials promoted by Mayor Carlos Hernández have taken over the leadership of three key departments after their experienced directors retired.
Mellisa Negrón, who has worked for more than 11 years in the city, unexpectedly resigned on April 28 as director of Human Resources, according to city documents.
Three days earlier, Frederick Marinelli resigned as director of the Department of Grants and Human Services. Marinelli, who has worked for the city since 1977, was part of the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), with the option of retiring in February 2015.
And City Attorney William Grodnick retired on April 5. Grodnick had been a legal presence in Hialeah for more than two decades and his imminent retirement was publicly known.
Hernández could not be reached for comments on the exits of Negrón and Marinelli.
Joaquín Arizola, an experienced city official who a short while ago had been suddenly transferred to the Public Works Department, will run the Human Resources Department temporarily.
Arizola declined to comment on his transfer.
An El Nuevo Herald source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that one of the reasons behind Negrón’s resignation was a link to the scandal generated by the former director of the Purchasing Department. Carlos López was arrested in Fort Lauderdale in December and accused of trying to hide a glass drug pipe in his rectum.
The source said that a couple of weeks after López’s arrest, Mayor Hernández signed a last-chance agreement with him under Negrón’s recommendation.
Three months later, an El Nuevo Herald investigation revealed the details of the arrest of López, who months before had been reported for alleged abuse by a city employee who opted to resign. López’s personnel file contains records of several instances of drug use, though none of the magnitude of the one in Fort Lauderdale.