Coral Gables

Coral Gables considers replacement after departure of assistant city manager

Carmen Olazabal resigned as Coral Gables assistant city manager last month.
Carmen Olazabal resigned as Coral Gables assistant city manager last month. City of Coral Gables

After a little more than five years serving the City Beautiful, Coral Gables Assistant City Manager Carmen Olazabal has departed the job.

In an email to city leadership, Olazabal announced her last day was Jan. 20 and wished the city’s leadership continued success.

“I am grateful for the honor and privilege to have worked with all of you during the past five years. Thank you for your professionalism and dedication to the city. It truly is what makes this city so special,” Olazabal wrote in the email.

City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark is now considering a replacement for the position.

“The city manager is evaluating this vacancy and will make a determination that best serves the needs of the citizens of Coral Gables,” city spokeswoman Maria Higgins-Fallon said.

Olazabal started with the city in September 2010 as building and zoning department director and became an assistant city manager in 2013. She later served as interim city manager for about six months following the departure of then-City Manager Pat Salerno in April 2014.

During her tenure, the city reached a settlement on the controversial placement of a new trolley garage, reached the initial resolution in the preservation of Sherman’s Oak on Lisbon Street, approved its 2014-15 budget and made progress on the plan for the two municipal parking garages on Andalusia Avenue and the Miracle Mile Streetscape project.

At the same meeting where Swanson-Rivenbark was officially sworn in, the city honored Olazabal by proclaiming Dec. 17, 2014, as “Carmen Olazabal Day” and saluted her for her leadership.

“It’s not something you asked for you were jumped into it on short notice, you didn’t miss a beat,” Mayor Jim Cason said at that meeting. “We got all these projects that were getting ready to be started or in the process of being implemented you kept them all going, there was no lack of leadership at all during that period.”

Olazabal will receive 20 weeks of separation pay, according to her separation agreement with the city.

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3