The North Miami Beach City Council has approved a new $200,000 annual contract for City Manager Ana Garcia, giving her a nearly 20 percent raise, about three weeks vacation and a bonus of up to $10,000.
The council approved Garcia’s new contract in a 5-2 vote at its Feb. 16 meeting. Councilwoman Phyllis Smith and vice mayor Beth Spiegel dissented.
Council members who approved her contract said they compared the salaries and benefits packages for city managers in cities of similar size and determined the average salary was $194,000.
"The exceptional job that our city manager has shown our residents really supersedes that 190 and that's why we came up with that number of 200 and I know that she is worth much more than that amount. I think we have an amazing manager,” said Councilwoman Marlen Martell.
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“I feel great. I want my actions to speak to them for themselves. I always strive to give 150 percent,” said Garcia, 54, born to Cuban parents. “My parents always told me not to forget where I came from. So all those sacrifices from my parents were also a tremendous motivating factor.”
Garcia started her career in the City of Miami Parks and Recreation Department. She worked as director of parks and recreation for South Miami, director of community services and assistant city manager for Palmetto Bay and as village manager of Biscayne Park. She began working as city manager in North Miami Beach in 2013.
One of her previous bosses, Charles Scurr, gave her a frame with a quote about excellence, which Garcia tries to live by.
The quote, anonymously attributed on the frame, says, “Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than what others think is possible.”
It’s how she views her life in public service, she said.
“I don't take it for granted,” she said. “It's not just a 9-to-5 job. First and foremost, the commitment is to the city. Every day I wake up and I say to myself that I get to serve.”
Garcia also praised the City Council.
“It has been a total team effort every single year for the past three years. What makes me so proud of this team is: The bigger the challenge, the greater the capacity of raising the bar. They understand what my philosophy is,” she said.
North Miami Beach Mayor George Vallejo lauded Garcia’s performance.
“We have a city firing on all cylinders under the leadership of our city manager. She has brought a level of stability to the city and a drive for excellence. We have a leader that has been building the morale and boosting the performance of the city. Thank you for the excellent job.”