The Miami Springs City Council acts like the board of directors of a corporation. The mayor is the chairman of the board. The chief executive is the city manager.
As voters, we pick the mayor and the city council members. In other words, we get to pick the chairman and the board members.
However, the city council can only hire and fire three positions:
- City Manager
- City Attorney
- City Clerk
For tonight’s annual vote of confidence meeting, the Miami Springs City Council decides whether to vote in favor of retaining the current person in the above listed positions or to replace one of the members.
There will NOT be a vote of confidence tonight on the city manager position. William Alonso announced he’s resigning in May and the City of Miami Springs is already actively seeking to replace his role as City Manager and Finance Director.
The Miami Springs City Council will vote tonight on Haydee Sera, the current city attorney for the City of Miami Springs. Back in December, Councilwoman Jacky Bravo indicated she wanted an RFP for new legal counsel. That was a clear indicator that Councilwoman Bravo was not happy with continuing with the current status quo.
The City of Miami Springs was represented by former City Attorney Jan Seiden for approximately 30 years. When he retired, Dan Espino was brought in as the City Attorney. When Dan Espino left, the City Council continued with the status quo with Espino’s former firm Weiss Serota Helfman Cole Bierman with Haydee Sera as the acting City Attorney. Weiss-Seroata is a law firm that represents multiple cities within its government practice, but it also promotes other practice areas including: business transactions, labor and employment, litigation, and property.
When Dan Espino left, the City Council did not request an RFP for new legal counsel and just continued to work with the Weiss Serota law firm. An RFP would allow Weiss Serota to compete with other firms and ultimately our Council would be able to select the best option for the City.
Many residents have expressed their dislike (if not disgust) of the Gateway Overlay District and how it was used to allow 52 apartments to be crammed into downtown Miami Springs without sufficient parking. The architect of the Gateway Overlay District was Dan Espino when he worked for the Weiss Serota law firm. While Haydee was not the architect of the Gateway Overlay District, she does work for the firm that helped to create it.
If the City Council were to vote no confidence on the city attorney, it would allow the City of Miami Springs to pursue new legal representation from a new firm.
For those residents unhappy with what the Gateway Overlay District did to our town, removing the current city attorney would effectively remove the last remaining major official associated with the development of the Gateway Overlay District.
In case you’re keeping score, here are the people associated with the Gateway Overlay District and the approval of the downtown development:
- Bob Best (term limited…will be replaced in April)
- Billy Bain (no longer in office)
- Mara Zapata (no longer in office)
- Jaime Petralanda (currently President of the Historical Society)
- William Alonso (resigning in May)
- Dan Espino (left the city when he changed law firms…currently on the school board)
- Haydee Sera (current city attorney)
For the record, we believe Sera has been very professional and was successful in shutting down the problems we had with Factory Town. However, whether fair or not, some want to move away from anyone associated with the Gateway Overlay District and the approvals of the Miami Springs Town Center project at One Curtiss Parkway.
What do you think? Should the City of Miami Springs retain Haydee Sera or should they seek an RFP for new legal representation?
There will also be a vote of confidence tonight for the City Clerk, Erika Gonzalez-Santamaria. Erika has served her role well and is expected to get a vote of confidence tonight. There is a request to consider a merit increase in her pay from her current salary of $100,736 to a new salary of $105,773.
The City of Miami Springs included the following chart to compare the salaries of city clerk’s from other municipalities:
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media.
The relationship between Miami Springs and Weiss Serota Helfman Cole Bierman has been a disaster. Let’s take the opportunity to secure the services of a professional City Manager AND a City Attorney. With annexation possibly in our future we must have a professional management team in place.