Miami-Dade County

A new watchdog: Miami-Dade County appoints its second inspector general

Mary T. Cagle was formally appointed Miami-Dade’s inspector general Tuesday, becoming the second independent watchdog in the county’s history.

She received the unanimous support and a round of applause from county commissioners, who made the appointment official after receiving a selection committee’s recommendation.

A smiling Cagle embraced selection committee members, led by State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, and said thank you.

“I love this county,” she said.

Cagle, a former Miami-Dade public corruption prosecutor, was most recently the statewide director of children’s legal services for the Florida Department of Children and Families. She beat out 12 other finalists for the position, out of 122 people who applied.

She replaces Christopher Mazzella, the county’s first inspector general, who retired in April after 14 years on the job.

The inspector general, who manages an office with 38 employees and a $5.3 million budget, is charged with ferreting out fraud, waste and corruption in county government and the Miami-Dade school district. She also has the authority to investigate any public official, including elected ones.

Cagle was appointed to a four-year term. There is no limit to the number of terms an inspector general can serve. The county will now negotiate her salary and benefits, which will also require commission approval.

The five-member selection committee, as set by county charter, consisted of Fernández Rundle as well as Charlton Copeland, a University of Miami law professor and outgoing chairman of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust; Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos Martinez; Coral Gables Police Maj. Scott Masington, president of the Miami-Dade Association of Chiefs of Police; and Addy Villanueva, special agent in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Miami regional operations center.