Miami Beach Commissioners Still Unsure Why They Gave Extra Cash To Ousted Manager

Categories: Politicks
bower hed.jpg
Matti Bower is still trying to figure out what happened last month

June's Miami Beach commission meeting ended with what seemed like a heartfelt bit of humanity. Commissioners agreed to keep axed City Manager Jorge Gonzalez on the books for another nine months while he burned vacation days so his family could keep its health insurance.

But this is Miami Beach, the most corrupt town in Dade! So it should shock no one that a month later, the commission exploded into chaos when they finally realized what they'd actually done -- given Gonzalez, who was forced to resign because the code department spiraled into an FBI-investigated catastrophe on his watch, up to a $15,000 annual boost to his pension. Two weeks later, they're still trying to sort out the mess and decide who's to blame.

"At its best, it was an oversight," Commissioner Ed Tobin says. "At its worst, it was a very sneaky trick to take hundreds of thousands from the taxpayers."

Here's the backstory, CliffsNotes-style: In May, commissioners forced Gonzalez to resign after 12 years in his $273,000-a-year post, following the feds' arrest of seven code and fire inspectors in a corruption sting.

At the tail end of June's meeting, Commissioner Jonah Wolfson introduced a brief motion to keep Gonzalez on the books for the purpose of health-care coverage. It passed with little discussion.

But as the July 18 followup meeting inched toward 10 p.m., commissioners quizzing City Attorney Jose Smith quickly realized they had made a huge blunder. By keeping Gonzalez on the books, he would continue accruing sick and vacation days to cash out and would also add nine months of service time to his pension.

As Tobin pushed for a revote, Mayor Matti Herrera Bower erupted with anger. (You can watch video of the bananas end to that meeting here; watch video two and skip ahead to around 4:15:30 for the best ranting).

"Where were the lawyers?" she demanded, glaring at Smith. (Smith says his office wasn't notified ahead of time, so it couldn't offer an opinion.)

Wolfson, angrily rolling up his sleeves, claimed he'd been lied to. "It's starting to make me sick," he said. "It makes me want to vomit."

Before anyone could resolve anything, though, Bower abruptly ended the meeting and the commissioners stormed off.

With more than a month to go before the next meeting, they still don't know what to do. Tobin says he'll push for a revote. Bower says terms should be renegotiated in private.

Smith says he'll try to get Gonzalez to forgo any financial benefit from the snafu when they sit down for negotiations later this month. Gonzalez, presumably, is chortling all the way to the bank. (Riptide was unable to reach him.)

"It's very sad," Tobin says. "We tried to give him the benefit of the doubt over and over... and he has no respect for city commissioners."

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14 comments
licenciado
licenciado

They are all good friends working together to line their greedy pockets with your money. Corruption in Miami Beach is much worse than anyone will ever know. We need accountability and Justice now.

emeraldgomez62
emeraldgomez62

I wonder what park we could name in his honor. Jorge's Par-3?

emeraldgomez62
emeraldgomez62

Don't forget about the lifetime free boucher brothers beach chair and umbrella, lifetime Flamingo Park pool pass (oops that's already free for everyone), a lifetime Miami Beach local bus pass (why should he have to keep those heavy quarters in his pocket, this gentleman only carries $100 bills),

and 12 free don't-pick-up-after-your-dog violations.

 

 

emeraldgomez62
emeraldgomez62

How about lifetime free towing, lifetime unlimited soda dispensed from the machines of our new sponsor,  $1,000 loaded on an ipark, 3 free code violations on his home, and lifetime free gym membership at the PAL.

emeraldgomez62
emeraldgomez62

Why not pay Gonzalez lifetime New World Symphony tickets and lifetime golf membership too

Tellingitlikeitis
Tellingitlikeitis

"Michael Wind" is a pseudo name for Sacha Winderbaum, whose dental license was suspended by the State for gross malpractice. He was evicted for non-payment of rent and is well known to the Bay Harbor Police Department as a psychopath for his bizarre, criminal activities. He spends all day on his computer (unemployed and living off his mother's earnings) sending scandalous, defamatory complaints against public officials, doctors, and landlords who reported him to the State.

taxwatchjunkie
taxwatchjunkie

Forget respecting the commissioners (who could). That guy is deliberately taking money out of the pockets of his fellow Miami Beach neighbors who pay taxes. After 12 years pulling in well over $250k a year plus numerous perks, he's already a millionaire and doesn't need more than he's legally entitled to. The commission should hire outside counsel to negotiate with this guy. It's clear the city attorney doesn't have either the wit (or the cajones to stand up to that crazy old lady who is somehow mayor).

 

Charles Maher
Charles Maher

I think North Miami could make a case for most corrupt considering most of their leaders

Laura Carolina Salado
Laura Carolina Salado

ummmmm I don't understand how they can use OUR tax money to make a decision to keep him on so that he may continue to recieve his healthcare benefits?? When the average Joe is laid off I'm pretty sure his superior won't be sayin' "Hey, you're fired but ugghhh I feel bad soooo I'm gonna keep you on the books..." And trust me if you've been makin' $273,000 I think your corrupt ass can manage without healthcare for a while.... UGH!!!!! I hate it when a goverment is put in place to represent the very people it collects funds from AKA The Hardworking Taxpayer and use it for their own personal gain. F#@% taxes!!!! I'd rather pay my own shit than throw money at a group of corrupted idividuals and "trust" them to balance the books... more like balance their pockets...sheeshhh

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

welcome to the banana republic nepotism that how you get a job in miami  just ask the city workers ®

 

taxpayers---sold down the river again by the crooks ™

windmichael21
windmichael21

jose smith was part of that fiasco,as he tried to return the favor for the city manager and code compliance for not reporting his shady businesses that he runs from his house or his completely corrupt building in bay harbor island,the city attorneys jose smith is part of the corruption,he must be investigated and fired.

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