Will the man who former Doral mayor Luigi Boria fired as his chief of staff be making a comeback? It’s not official yet, but it’s in the works.
City leaders confirmed Wednesday that Alfredo E. Ortega, who was abruptly terminated by Boria in May 2015, may be returning as chief of staff to Juan Carlos Bermudez, who defeated Boria in last November’s election.
The chief of staff serves as the mayor’s top administrator, charged with planning, directing and coordinating the activities of the office.
“Doesn’t matter if he worked for Boria … it’s not political. He has the experience and has done the job before; he knows the community,” Bermudez told the Miami Herald in a text message.
Ortega, 40, confirmed that he is currently undergoing standard background checks, but said he wasn’t ready to comment until it was official. The job would pay $75,422.
When Ortega left the city after 14 months of employment, he filed a complaint against Boria with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that was later settled during mediation. Ortega later moved on to work for a grassroots outreach organization during the 2016 elections. Before working for Boria, he was press secretary at the Interamerican Institute for Democracy and a content producer at CNN. He has a masters degree in conflict analysis and resolution from Nova Southeastern University.
Bermudez’s chief of staff, Rafael Pineyro — who was appointed by Boria — resigned last week and announced he’ll run for the Doral City Council in 2018.
Ortega’s firing came months after the passage of a August 2014 charter amendment that gave City Council members the authority to hire and fire their assistants. At the time, Ortega said in a statement that Boria consistently made threats reminding Ortega that he was “now dependent on him.”
Ortega also said in his statement that Boria said he “had two assistants who he did not control and wanted to keep one who could be controlled.” He said City Manager Edward Rojas told him “the mayor had to pursue his reelection and for that reason decided to change direction” in relation to Ortega’s job. Ortega also said Boria would “disrespect him and humiliate” him and took jabs at his religious observance.
Rojas responded that Boria verbally brought to his attention a series of incidents involving Ortega “which were violations of the city charter and employee policy manual and justified termination, in my opinion. I provided notice of my intent to terminate and gave Mr. Ortega the courtesy of resigning, which he refused.”
When Boria was asked by El Nuevo Herald why he let go Ortega go, Boria said: “I don’t know what happened. I suppose he’ll open up a business.”