Miami's Five Worst City and County Managers Who Prove Merrett Stierheim Wrong
According to the Miami Herald, ultimate bureaucrat Merrett Stierheim, who served two stints as county manager and was briefly interim city manager in 1996, is no fan of strong mayors: "You may elect a mayor with a bad moral compass, and you're stuck with him. A manager generally runs for office every day."
With all due respect to Stierheim -- who helped the city emerge from insolvency in the mid-1990s and whose career was largely untainted by scandal -- there have been several top administrators who lacked a moral compass and respect for taxpayers. Here's Banana Republican's list of the worst city and county managers:
Career low: While never indicted for any crimes, Burgess' tenure was marked with one embarrassing scandal after another. He was brought in by former Mayor Alex Penelas to clean up the mess left behind the woefully unqualified Steve Shiver. Yet under Burgess's watch, the federal government took over the county's housing agency following the Miami Herald investigative series "House of Lies." The feds also suspended $182 million in grants to the Miami-Dade Transit Agency after an audit concluded the county had failed to document how the money was being spent, among other problems. Although Burgess was arguably baseball mogul Jeffrey Loria's best pinch hitter, engineering the boondoggle Marlins stadium deal that is now the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.
Annual public salary: $345,515
Pension: None. But the 53-year-old former county executive did receive a half-a-million dollar severance package and health insurance for himself and his family until he is 65.
Career low: A self-made millionaire brought in by then-Mayor Manny Diaz to run the city like a business, the combative Arriola quickly found out that local government is nothing like the private sector. He signed off on the ill-advised illegal fire fee settlement that paid $7 million to just seven people instead of 80,000 taxpayers. The fiasco ended up eroding Diaz's faith in Arriola and eventually cost prominent Miami attorney Hank Adorno his law license for six months. As questions over the settlement spread like wild fire, it was also discovered that Arriola had partnered with Diaz and then-city Commissioner Johnny Winton to purchase a property in Coconut Grove for $3.1 million. Arriola put down $400,000. None of them reported the deal, which was a conflict of interest, but only Diaz and Winton had to pay fines to the Miami-Dade ethics commission.
Annual public salary: $245,000. Although he only kept ten bucks and donated the rest to the United Way.