Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Opa-locka defers giving pay raises to manager, clerk and city employees

NFL wide receiver Andre Johnson, left, along with childhood former coach Ed Brown and Commissioner Terence Pinder, shares some words Wednesday about the upbringing of the seven-time Pro Bowl player. Johnson was released by the Indianapolis Colts the day before.
NFL wide receiver Andre Johnson, left, along with childhood former coach Ed Brown and Commissioner Terence Pinder, shares some words Wednesday about the upbringing of the seven-time Pro Bowl player. Johnson was released by the Indianapolis Colts the day before. For the Miami Herald

Opa-locka officials agreed to reconsider the idea of giving raises to the interim city manager and city clerk, until after the city pays off its previous manager and submits a final draft of its financial recovery plan to the state and county. Before the meeting’s main business, the city commission renamed the football field at Ingram Field after NFL wide receiver and Opa-locka native Andre Johnson.

The Main Item

Mayor Myra Taylor, sharing the sentiment of most of the council, said that it was the wrong time to start spending money — especially for raises.

“I appreciate the effort and work that they’re doing but we have folks here who aren’t making $30,000 a year and that is sad,” Taylor said. “If we give a raise for one, we have to give a raise for all; but right now, we’re in recovery.”

Taylor said that, while she’s been accused of spending city money like a “cash cow,” she won’t consider paying Interim City Manager David Chiverton a proposed $151,000 until after July, when the city finishes paying former Manager Steve Shiver, who was ousted by the council in November and is still receiving money through a severance package. Chiverton is currently paid $96,000 annually; Shiver made $150,000 a year.

“I agree with no increases,” Commissioner Terence Pinder said in response to Taylor, “but I do expect that we send a clear message that this is the person that we want to handle the job when a lot of people didn’t even want to take the job.”

“This is part of the recovery. This is part of sending a message to Miami-Dade County and to the state we want [Chiverton] and have full confidence in the manager,” Pinder said, adding that the city should hire the interim manager full-time, with benefits.

Other Business

▪ Recovery plan: The commission voted unanimously to have the law firm Genovese Joblove & Battista assist the city with the financial recovery plan. The council voted on another item to hire a consulting firm for $45,000.

▪ Small business: The city manager will conduct a study with Neighbors and Neighbors Association to address small business opportunities in Opa-locka. The item was passed unanimously.

▪ Gun violence: In response to the recent killings of young children, the commission voted to allocate $500 to the Rickia Isaac Foundation’s “No More Bullets” campaign.

You said it

“For me to be where I’m at right now, I used my environment and the things I’d seen to get me get me out of the situation that I was in. That was my motivation and I’ll tell any child not to let their environment distract them.” — NFL receiver Andre Johnson on violence and crime in the city.

They said it

“I like the idea of taking the ‘interim’ title off. I think that Mr. Chiverton has proven over the last three city managers that he has a love for the city.” — Commissioner Joseph Kelly on officially hiring interim City Manager David Chiverton.

The next meeting

▪ When: March 23

▪ Where: Sherbondy Village Auditorium, 215 Perviz Ave., Opa-locka

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