Miami Beach

Miami Beach police union delivers no-confidence vote to mayor

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. hgabino@elnuevoherald.com

The Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police announced Saturday that its members delivered a vote of no confidence against Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

The vote was conducted at the request of Miami Beach and Florida State FOP President Bobby Jenkins. Members were asked whether they “have confidence in Mayor Levine.”

According to FOP, 249 of the 263 who voted checked the “no” box. More than 68 percent of members submitted ballots over the past three days.

Chief among the union leadership’s complaints is that Levine was absent during Memorial Day weekend, which was mostly calm in the early parts of the weekend before multiple shooting incidents took place, leading to two fatalities. The city hosted parties and visitors for Urban Beach Weekend along with the Air and Sea Show over the holiday weekend.

Video captured by a bystander show the moments after a police-involved shooting on Miami Beach left one man dead during Memorial Day Weekend.

The union’s letter also says that Levine has failed to increase police staffing in residential areas and that he “failed to take into consideration the strain that additional events during Memorial Day Weekend and other high traffic days would have on resources.”

“Mayor Levine is completely disconnected and disengaged from the men and women who sacrifice their lives every day to protect Miami Beach’s residents and visitors. During his four years in office, Mayor Levine has yet to accept one meeting with us to discuss the issues that are most affecting Miami Beach law enforcement and our ability to perform our duties at the highest level of service,” Jenkins said.

He continued: “The Mayor’s lack of engagement and complete disregard for the people who serve this city, its residents and its visitors, shows that he is not suited to lead an international city like Miami Beach, much less any larger government entity.”

A spokesman for Levine described the vote as “nothing more than an eleventh hour political stunt.”

The mayor, a possible 2018 gubernatorial candidate, has been playing host as the U.S. Conference of Mayors kicked off in Miami Beach Friday and will continue through the weekend.

“Mayor Levine has a proven record of working in lock-step with city employees to foster a positive culture,” Levine’s office said in an emailed statement. “As the Mayor welcomes mayors from across the country, he is kicking off the weekend with the men and women of the Miami Beach fire department to showcase their important work through a simulation activity.”

Levine's spokeman added: "Mayor Levine has had a number of conversations with Mr. Jenkins. Under Mayor Levine's leadership, 17 new officers have been added to the police force. Further, the latest labor agreement with the police union was passed unanimously by the Commission and supported by Mayor Levine."

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine held an emergency news conference on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 to announce measures to address Memorial Day weekend incidents and said he is not calling for a ban of Urban Beach Weekend.

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