Miami-Dade commissioners on Tuesday expressed shock and sadness at the sudden death of their chief auditor, Charles Anderson, who was the first to hold the voter-created watchdog post and served 12 years until he died of a heart attack on Friday.
“It’s hard to have a can-do attitude in a very difficult environment,” Commission Chairman Jean Monestime said at the start of the twice-monthly meeting. “This was a guy who had a can-do attitude.”
A certified public accountant who had worked in the state inspector general’s office, Anderson, 58, was the first person tapped to head up the commission’s new audit department in 2004. Formed as an independent agency removed from the county’s executive branch, the audit office functioned as the commission’s own research arm. His formal title was Commission Auditor for the Board of County Commissioners.
Anderson recently presided over an extensive review of performance measures for dozens of county departments. Among the reports produced by his office: Review of Miami-Dade Transit Corporate Discount Program, Price Elasticity, and the Effects of Gas Price Changes on Bus Ridership; Pricing Comparison of ISD: Print Shop vs. Commercial; and an Audit of Non-Governmental Entities’ Compliance with Lease Agreements for Use of County-Owned Properties.
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Cheryl Anderson, his wife of 28 years, described a detail-oriented math aficionado who craved planning in all aspects of life and loved his job watching the numbers.
“He was meticulous about what he did,” said Cheryl Anderson said. “He dotted his i’s and crossed his t’s.”
She recalled, early in their relationship, suggesting they head out on the town to find a restaurant for dinner — without making a reservation first. His answer: “Are you kidding me?”
“That’s probably why we were together,” Cheryl Anderson said. “We were complete opposites.”
Along with one-off reports, the auditor’s office regularly generates a digest custom-made for County Hall watchers: a detailed, item-by-item analysis of every agenda item before commissioners at their twice-monthly meetings.
Though not a well-known public figure, Anderson, who earned about $180,000 a year, was a frequent presence behind the scenes with the 13 commissioners and their staff.
“To his office family — and it is a family — we feel your loss,” Commissioner Sally Heyman said. “We will just have to appreciate the professionalism he led with at the helm.”
County Hall officials said they were shocked by the news since Anderson appeared to be in good health. He suffered a heart attack Friday morning, and called for his own ambulance, his wife said.
Born in Quincy to Fred and Annie Mae Anderson, he was one of nine siblings, with six brothers and two sisters. He earned an accounting degree from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where he also taught classes in accounting as an adjunct professor.
Along with his wife, Anderson is survived by his son, Jay Charles, of Miami, and his daughter, Katrina Holt, of Jacksonville, and seven siblings. A brother and his parents died before him.
A viewing is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Friday at the Martin Memorial AME Church at 14700 Lincoln Blvd. in Miami, with a funeral starting at 1 p.m. Arrangements are by the Paradise Memorial Funeral Home. Another service will be held in Tallahassee at 11 a.m. on Monday at the Bethel AME Church.
“He was a gentleman,” said Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who was a county commissioner before becoming mayor in 2011. “A true gentleman.”