Exit at County Hall: Miami-Dade mayor loses top deputy

Deputy Mayor Chip Iglesias’ resignation comes days after Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s chief of staff also stepped down.

07/23/2014 11:10 AM

07/23/2014 6:26 PM

Another top aide is leaving the office of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

Deputy Mayor Chip Iglesias will head to the private sector after July 31. He resigned just a week after Chief of Staff Lisa Martinez said she too would step down.

“It has been an extremely difficult decision,” Iglesias, whose first name is Genaro, wrote in the July 17 letter, noting that in June he marked 33 years of public service. He didn’t specify where he will work next.

Martinez resigned July 9, though she will remain at County Hall through Aug. 4. She has said she is a finalist for chief executive at a children’s nonprofit.

Iglesias’ departure from his $225,000-a-year job has been rumored for weeks. He is widely expected to be heading to a lobbying firm. Iglesias most recently headed the administration’s negotiations with David Beckham’s representatives over a possible Major League Soccer stadium.

Gimenez said he accepted Iglesias’ resignation “with mixed emotions.”

“Chip has an exemplary record of public service to our community that dates back several decades,” the mayor said in a statement. “Chip has always placed service to others at the forefront of his professional career and he will be missed. He is a long-time adviser and friend, and I wish him all the best as he takes his skills and talents to the private sector.”

The Iglesias and Martinez resignations come in the middle of the county’s contentious budget-writing season. Gimenez has proposed laying off nearly 600 workers if labor unions don’t agree to concessions on pay and benefits in new contracts. Among the potential layoffs are about 230 positions in the police department, which Iglesias oversees.

Alex Ferro, has been named as Martinez’s successor. Gimenez’s office said Wednesday that another deputy mayor, Russell Benford, would take over Iglesias’ public-safety portfolio. A community outreach department he oversees would move to communications chief Mike Hernández.

Earlier this year, Gimenez lost his former communications director, Fernando Figueredo, to Florida International University, and his chief spokeswoman, Suzy Trutie, to the county-owned Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.

Gimenez will be losing one of his longest-tenured advisers in Iglesias, who has been part of the administration since 2011. The two men have known each other since their days as city of Miami firefighters. Iglesias was Gimenez’s chief of staff when Gimenez became city manager and later county commissioner.

“I would like to express my gratitude to you for having the confidence in me to assist in your transition when you were elected Mayor and for the opportunity to be part of your executive team,” Iglesias wrote. “I am most fortunate to have worked with such a dedicated and professional Miami-Dade County workforce.”

After Gimenez’s mayoral election, Iglesias, who was then Key Biscayne’s village manager, became chief of staff as part of an unusual arrangement in which Iglesias took on deputy mayor duties at the same time. He took on the deputy mayor job full-time earlier this year.

In his letter, Iglesias called the employees he supervised “true professionals and committed public servants.”

“Many are at risk of injury, illness or death every day,” he said. “I salute them.”

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