Miami Beach approves contract with new City Manager Jimmy Morales

Miami Beach officially has a new city manager. Commissioners on Wednesday unanimously approved a contract with Jimmy Morales.

The proposed agreement is for two years and pays Morales a salary of $255,000.

Mayor Matti Herrera Bower signed the contract on the spot, and Morales was sworn in, surrounded by his wife, mother, son and mother-in-law. The commission chambers filled with applause.

“So many good things on the horizon, some issues we have to tackle,” Morales said. “While I may make some mistakes along the way ... they’ll all be motivated by one thing: trying to do my best to push this city forward,” Morales said.

His contract calls for the commission and Morales to agree on performance measures to use when deciding to whether to give the city manager a raise of up to 10 percent. He also gets 20 weeks of severance if the commission fires him without cause.

Stung by the $400,000 payout Miami Beach’s last city manager got, Morales’ contract specifies that certain payments, such as a car allowance and membership fees, don’t count as part of his salary or pension.

Morales was plucked from his job as city attorney in Doral to lead Miami Beach’s staff of about 2,000. Previously, he served as a Miami-Dade County Commissioner.

He was born and raised on the Beach, and met his wife at a Miami Beach Senior High football game. Morales went on to graduate from Harvard. His new position marks the first time Morales leads a city.

“I will do whatever I can and more for your family and for you, because you are an example of success for us,” Bower said.