Miami Beach City Manager Gonzalez Resigns
MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) - Miami Beach City Manager Jorge Gonzalez has submitted his letter of resignation and will leave office in 2013.
"There comes a point, however, when it is time to move on and allow others a similar opportunity," Gonzalez said in his letter. "After a great deal of thought and personal introspection, I have concluded that it is time to resign my position as City Manager, effective May 10, 2013. I do so with a continued sense of responsibility and commitment to ensure an orderly and proper transition."
Click here to read the full resignation letter.
Gonzalez is 45-years-old and will be resigning roughly two months early. He is giving up a job that paid him $273,000.
Gonzalez has been under fire and has had to defend himself against charges that he's failing at the job he's held for a dozen years.
At a Tuesday morning breakfast meeting with taxpayers, Gonzalez may have seen the writing on the wall as he waded into an angry crowd of taxpayers.
He served mostly as a punching bag for residents angry about police misconduct, the disruption of Urban Beach Weekend, and a new scandal in the city code enforcement office. Residents angry with Gonzalez share that anger with the city's mayor, Mattie Bower, a Gonzalez backer.
"We are not a lynch mob," said resident Mike Burke. "We are the people, and we are exercising our first amendment right. Freedom of assembly and freedom of speech and we will not be intimidated no matter how many policeman Matti Bower travels around with as her personal body guard."
Even though he took complaint after complaint, and had both criticism and scorn heaped upon him by some at the meeting, Gonzalez said he believes the city government under his leadership is doing a good job.
"Life is positive and getting better," he said
But many at the meeting disagree. They looked at the city's problem, especially the latest FBI investigation leading to the code enforcement arrests, and said he needs to step down.
"You are not the person to lead reform," said Beach resident Frank Del Vecchio. "You are the person who should resign effective today."
Condo board president Leo Ostricher was blunt.
"We scared sh….. We're scared," he said. "I can tell you so many stories that you will run out of tape of why people are scared of what's going on here."
"It's my fault," Gonzalez said at the meeting. "Just like it's my fault that tourism is high and the city is doing well and this population is very very satisfied with the services it receives."
Mayor Bower released a statement about Gonzalez's surprise announcement:
"I was saddened to receive a letter of resignation from the city manager today. Although I personally regret that he has chosen to cut short his distinguished service to this city, I will respect his decision to resign. His actions are consistent with the best interests of our city, which must move forward. I believe that an orderly transition of the chief executive of the city is critical to ensuring that a well-organized and professional search process be initiated while protecting the ongoing needs of this community. The process must not disrupt the priorities of the city, including rooting out any and all remnants of corruption that may exist. The manager has proposed an extended transition period that would accomplish those goals. For that reason, I support his proposal."
The Miami Beach City Commission was set to take up Gonzalez's fate Wednesday, but with the resignation, that my be a moot point.
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