Miami-Dade County

Finance officer Daniel Alfonso to be named Miami city manager

Daniel Alfonso, Miami’s chief financial officer, will replace outgoing City Manager Johnny Martinez.

In an interview Wednesday, Alfonso said he is eager to take on his new role.

“I'm a local kid. It's humbling in a sense. I told the mayor I'm very happy for this opportunity,” Alfonso said.

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado will announce the appointment at City Hall Thursday morning.

The appointment of Alfonso will be set for approval by the City Commission on Feb. 27. He would start his new post the first week of March.

Current City Manager Martinez announced that he would resign earlier this month after suffering a stroke and discovering he had heart problems. Martinez did not address his health issues when he announced his resignation.

While Martinez recovered from his stroke, Alfonso served as acting city manager.

Alfonso said he is honored to have worked with Martinez, calling him “a professional at all times.”

“Johnny did a great job managing the city,” Alfonso said.

In August 2011, Alfonso was named Miami’s budget director at a time the city faced a federal investigation into its finances and top financial administrators were fleeing city hall. He previously worked at Miami-Dade County for 17 years as a budget coordinator.

Under Alfonso’s short watch in Miami, the city bolstered it dwindling reserves to $57.5 million, closer to the $96 million required under the city’s financial-integrity ordinance.

“We are not where we need to be yet,” said Alfonso. “We’re getting closer.”

As city manager, Alfonso said he will continue to promote fiscal responsibility to avoid the pitfalls of the past.

“The city, financially, we have turned the corner. We do see growth and development,” he said.

When he arrived in the U.S. from his native Cuba in 1979 at age 11, Alfonso said he never dreamed he would hold such a high position in city government.

“My father was a political prisoner in Cuba. When we arrived, all of our worldly possessions were on our backs and in a small suitcase,” he said.

Alfonso went on to earn a master’s degree in finance from Florida International University.

Among the first tasks he expects to take on as city manager is to prepare for union contract negotiations at the end of the year.

“It's a challenge,” he said. “I look forward to making the city better.”