During my 35 years of service to the city of Miami, I have come to realize that the current system of government is dysfunctional.
I support the mayor’s attempt to modernize the antiquated city manager system to that of a strong mayor.
I have many reasons for this support; here are just a few.
Now, no city leader is ever held accountable for their actions when things go wrong. There are too many politicians in charge.
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Hubris takes over and finger-pointing at the others, including the manager, is the norm.
Eventually, a confused electorate has no clue of who is to blame. Thus, no one is ever held accountable.
In a strong mayor system, the mayor gets the praise or the fault, and is clearly held accountable.
Secondly, a strong mayor system eliminates the political influence on employees.
Usually, politicians befriend certain employees who can assist them in getting things done in their districts.
These friendships lead to favors between both, such as a good word for promotion/better job, even if the employee is undeserving. These friendships also create difficulties for the manager when attempting to corral an incompetent of insubordinate employee.
If the case goes to a commission hearing, the employee’s conduct becomes inconsequential.
To make matters worse, the seven city officials in charge are usually at odds over issues and at times personally. During their discourse, sometimes amicable and sometimes not, employees are left to wonder who is really in charge.
The mayor has no vote or real power. A strong mayor is in charge and responsible for the city and everyone knows it.
In discussions with many of my colleagues, we all came to the same conclusion: Miami is not only ready but really needs a strong mayor form of government.
Miami Police chief (retired)
North Bay Village