At Monday’s Miami Springs City Council Meeting, the City Council had to go through the annual process of a Vote of Confidence for the only three positions the City Council can hire or fire. Those positions are:
- City Manager
- City Attorney
- City Clerk
Technically, the City Council did not hold a Vote of Confidence for the City Manager. There was no need to hold the vote since Willam Alonso had already submitted his resignation notice indicating he would be retiring in May. Furthermore, the City Council has already approved the hiring of an executive search firm to find a new city manager.
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.
The annual vote of confidence allows the City Council to communicate their level of satisfaction with the city manager, city attorney, and city clerk.
Haydee Sera is 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.
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 ordinance 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.
When it came time for the vote of confidence, Bob Best, Walter Fajet, George Lob, and Maria Mitchell all voted in favor of retaining Haydee Sera and the Weiss-Serota Law Firm. Despite losing a close family member over the weekend, Councilwoman Jacky Bravo still attended the Monday Council Meeting via Zoom. She remained steadfast and consistent in her position and voted NO.
With a vote of 4-1, Haydee Sera and the Weiss-Serota Law Firm will continue to serve as the City Attorney for Miami Springs for the foreseeable future. However, it’s abundantly clear that the city attorney does not enjoy full support.
The vote for the City Clerk, Erika Gonzalez-Santamaria was more complicated, but far less dramatic. Erika has served her role well and received a well-deserved unanimous vote of confidence. In addition, the City Council fully supported a merit increase in her pay from her current salary of $100,736 to a new salary of $105,773.
You can see how her salary compares to the salaries of other municipal clerks within Miami-Dade County.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media.