Miami Beach Commissioner Jorge Exposito said Tuesday that he thinks Jorge Gonzalez has done an “excellent job” and will vote to keep the city manager when the City Commission meets in March to decide Gonzalez’s fate.
“We individually have to judge the people that we work with on the manner that they work with us,” the first-term commissioner told the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club at David’s Cafe II. “What I have found, for the most part, is that anytime I have a question or a concern, I have always been greeted [by the city manager] with open doors, issues have been addressed appropriately, and the issues have been resolved.”
“It is my opinion that he is doing an excellent job.”
The Commission plans to take up the question of Gonzalez’s future in March. So far, Mayor Bower has confirmed her support for him as Commissioners Wolfson and Weithorn have moved to replace the 11-year city administrator.
“Can we improve? Yes, we most definitely can improve,” Exposito emphasized. He said the Commission would meet for a February retreat where he expects his colleagues and he to “openly discuss the issues that we feel we have concerns with,” notably the Gonzalez matter.
“At the end of the day, we have to take responsibility for how we allow things to occur.”
While he does not necessarily believe a decade is too long a time for a city administrator, Exposito said the commissioners, at their retreat, will have a “good conversation” about whether to create term limits in future contracts.
Later in the Q-and-A, Exposito reiterated his support for Gonzalez after a questioner asked if it wasn’t “time for a change” and drew applause when he specifically referred to the convention center issue and castigated the city manager for having done “a very terrible job.”
“As of late, there’s been a lot of criticism of the city manager,” Exposito responded. “He’s not perfect, but I think he’s a good city manager.” While Gonzalez is not solely responsible for the “wonderful things that have happened in this community” over the last decade, Exposito added, “we do need to give credit to the leader of the administration who has helped implement and make these projects” possible.
“It is very easy to criticize, but it’s not an easy job,” said Exposito. “The city manager can only function knowing what he is expected to do.” If he is not directed specifically by the Commission, “then we have to take part of that responsibility, it’s partly our fault. [And we have to ask ourselves,] How do we move forward? How do we change this?”