North Miami has a new head of its finance department as it heads into the budget season.
The city hired Miami’s former chief financial officer, Larry Spring, to take over a department that has seen multiple leadership changes in recent years.
Spring served as chief financial officer for the city of Miami from 2007 until he stepped down from the position in 2011 in the midst of an U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of the city and a large budget deficit. The SEC eventually charged the city and former budget director Michael Boudreaux with civil securities fraud, saying the city didn’t properly report its budgetary issues and misled bond investors.
Although the SEC looked at Spring and other city leaders, he was never officially charged. He has served as the president of Achievement Consulting Services since 2011. Before starting with Miami in 2003, initially in the budget department, Spring worked for Total Bank.
City Manager Aleem Ghany said that he considered what happened in Miami before hiring Spring, but based his decision primarily on his experience in public and private accounting.
“One of the things with him is he has done both sides, he comes with a lot of educational backing and institutional knowledge from other municipalities,” Ghany said.
Spring has already started evaluating the department to create a financial action plan and Ghany said he will be hired full-time once the new fiscal year begins.
Councilman Scott Galvin said he trusts the city manager’s decision despite what happened in the city of Miami.
“Was he the sole reason the city of Miami had financial issues? Probably not,” Galvin said. “I get what his negatives might be, but he does bring established positives to the job.”
North Miami hopes for stability in the position with Spring as they have had several finance directors since 2011 when Carlos Perez was fired from the position. Perez, who had worked in the city for about 22 years, was fired for “performance reasons” in October 2011. He later suggested that the decision might have been retaliation by then-City Manager Stephen Johnson.
Vernon Paul held the position after Perez and briefly resigned in the summer of 2013 before stepping back into the position. He resigned again for good in November of that year.
More recently, Camelia Siguineau served as the finance director before stepping down last September. Carl LaFleur is the most recent head of the department, serving as the interim director until the city brought in Spring to take over.