Reporting to constituents in his recent newsletter, Gongora said that approximately 60 candidates applied for the position, “far fewer than had applied for the interim city manager position” only months ago.
After the list was whittled down to six, then 4, viable candidates, commissioners “felt that we needed more options and decided to leave the position open until the first of December,” Gongora said. He said the recruitment company the city employed was instructed to find more qualified candidates or else the Commission would consider opening the process to more recruiters.
This matter, he added, would be reconsidered at the Commission’s December 12 meeting.
On other topics:
– The city “was contractually obligated” to pay former City Manager Jorge Gonzalez a significant severance package and “there was very little room for negotiation.”
The commission voted 5-2 at its October meeting to finalize settlement discussions with Gonzalez over what to pay him.
“Rather than leave the city exposed to extended and protracted arbitration,” which could cause the city to ultimately have to pay more money to outside lawyers in order to resolve it, “a business decision was made to conclude this matter and for the City of Miami Beach to focus on moving positive projects forward,” Gongora explained.
– The Commission moved forward with seeking RFQs for both the Miami Beach Convention Center and Lincoln Lane projects.
“The convention center is the most important unrealized project in the city,” Gongora noted .
Commissioners decided to reconvene an evaluation panel to reconsider proposals to redevelop the convention center. For the Lincoln Lane project, they elected to convene a new evaluation panel “in an abundance of caution” so as to avoid any further allegations of violations of the Sunshine Law, allegations which temporarily derailed the project in recent months.
– Gongora labeled “disturbing” the revelations emerging from the Gus Lopez bribery scandal that several city contractors in the job order contract (JOC) program had paid bribes to the disgraced former city procurement director for competitive advantage on bids for city projects.
He said the Commission had stayed all matters involving contractors that were named in the scandal and referred them for “further police investigation.”
“In addition, we discussed debarment for these contractors notwithstanding the result of any criminal investigation,” Gongora stated.