Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade economic official leaving after 18 months

Josh Gelfman
Josh Gelfman

A former New York City official tapped by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to promote economic development is leaving after about 18 months to take a job with a local developer.

Josh Gelfman, whose handsome salary and tenure with Michael Bloomberg made him a high-profile hire for Gimenez in May 2013, will start Oct. 15 as an executive with Terranova, a Miami Beach firm, according to Jack Osterholt, a deputy mayor and Gelfman’s boss. Gelfman worked for New York City’s economic-development arm under Mayor Bloomberg, and was picked by Gimenez to jump-start the county’s own work in that area.

In an interview, Gelfman, 39 and a Miami Beach native, declined to get into the specifics of his next job, but said it was “the right opportunity for me personally.” Terranova and a partner recently sold their Lincoln Road portfolio for a record $342 million, and the company, run by founder Stephen Bittel, is a leading commercial real estate firm in the area.

“I’m still very committed to helping make Miami a great city,” Gelfman said. “I’ll be working on development projects, focused locally.“

Gelfman’s gross yearly salary was about $189,000, according to county records.

He was one of the officials behind the controversial revival of an economic-development grant program that sat unused for the previous 10 years. County commissioners took the first step toward approving $3 million payouts from the program at their meeting Tuesday, and are expected to decide on larger, $5 million grants in the coming months.

Gelfman was also Gimenez’s point person for the Beacon Council, the county’s tax-funded economic-development group whose longtime director was forced out under pressure from Gimenez and some commissioners a few months before Gelfman was hired. Gimenez has talked of wanting to rearrange the county’s economic-development infrastructure, but has not yet proposed changes.

In the interview, Gelfman, whose formal title was deputy director of regulatory and economic resources, cited his work with the county’s private sector as a high point during his tenure.

“I’m proud of helping improve the working relationship between the county and the Beacon Council,” he said, “and helping the broader business community understand their stake in the community.”