6 Questions for the City of Miami

Mayor Tomas Regalado
City of Miami

Chairman Marc Sarnoff
City of Miami District 2

Carlos Migoya
City Manager

August 6th, 2010

Mayor Regalado, Chairman Sarnoff, and Mr. City Manager,

Today, the well-known watchdog blog “Miami For Change” (http://miamiforchange.blogspot.com) posed six questions that were directed at Chuck Rabin from the Miami Herald but I feel would be better answered by any of the three of you. To quote:

1. “These will definitely not fall under the law I created,” said Miami’s Pieter Bockweg, who helped craft the city’s mural ordinance.

What educational or professional experience qualifies Pieter Bockweg to “create” laws?

Was there a city attorney assigned to this matter, and if so, who?

What qualifies Mr. Bockweg to give an opinion on a legal matter that will likely end up in litigation?

2. Bockweg had spent the past two years working closely with Sarnoff to create the city’s mural ordinance.

Is it common practice and / or a violation of the city charter for a city commissioner to work closely with a member of the city manager’s staff in creating laws?

3. The hires weren’t done in the dark. The agency called to tell The Miami Herald of the moves.

What leads you to conclude that the hires “weren’t done in the dark?”

Were the two positions advertised in the Miami Herald or another newspaper of general circulation?

Did the calls to the Herald take place after the two gentlemen were hired?

If the hires were done in the open as you conclude, then why is Chairman Sarnoff “shocked…” and admits that he “didn’t see it coming”?

4. David Karsh, paid $53,000 a year as Sarnoff’s communications director, began a stint Monday doing the same for the city’s three CRAs at $82,000 a year.

$82,000 a year is considerably more than the $30,000 a year public relations contract the C.R.A. voted to give Mr. Karsh’s firm.

Does the C.R.A. still plan to hire an outside public relations firm?

What additional work will Mr. Karsh be doing to merit nearly a threefold increase in pay?

And, in an agency supposed to combat inner city blight, what is the role of an $82,000 a year communications director?

5. Bert Gonzalez, a senior staffer who dealt with business affairs at a $56,000 annual salary, is now the assistant executive director for Miami’s Omni CRA — which Sarnoff oversees — at $105,000 a year.

What qualifications does Mr. Gonzalez have to merit nearly a 100% increase in pay from Chairman Sarnoff’s staff to his new position at the C.R.A.?

6. Earlier this week [Bockweg] said he was still learning the CRA ropes, but already felt “the staff is too small right now for the work we’re doing.”

A six figure salary with benefits to “learn the ropes?”

What educational or professional experience does Mr. Bockweg possess to direct an agency that oversees hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars?

What leads him to conclude that he needs additional staff when he already has a staff of 14 people working at the C.R.A.?

At a time of unprecedented budgetary issues for the City of Miami and economic hardship for our residents, is it responsible for the City to be increasing salaries of its employees?

I eagerly await your reply.

Best Regards,

Stephen Murray
Coconut Grove Village Council

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  1. […] As so appropriately put by Mr. Stephen Murray, ” At a time of unprecedented budgetary issues for the City of Miami and economic hardship for our residents, is it responsible for the City to be increasing salaries of its employees?”.  Our Commission Chairman, Mr. Sarnoff, who has pillaged and attacked dedicated carreer employees of the Police and Fire continues to show he has no scrupples and will do what all politicians do best, spend spend spend and when in doubt, look for more money to spend. It is their job. If they don’t have the money, lets create new taxes, levy new fines, look for new sources of income so that we can get more money to make up for deficits we ran into by spending too much.  Look at the bid to take over the Miami Parking Authority.   Nothing but an effort to get another bank account under the City of Miami Commissioners control so that they can pillage the booty and treasury.  More like pirates than you can imagine.  The proposed charter change would give City of Miami Commissioners and Mayor the authority to abolish, sell or lease the assets of the Miami Parking authority.  http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/10/21/1884784/heated-battle-to-control-parking.html  Mayor Regalado uses words like, “we want to have an agency that is business friendly and resident friendly” and also uses the words, “we need to have an agency that follows the same rules that every city department has followed, which is reduce expenses and salaries and perks”.  Wow. If that were only true.  We all know that the only reason Mr. Regalado and Mr. Sarnoff want to bring the parking authority under their control is it is a cash cow and has great credit ratings.  If you really listen to the words Mr. Regalado says, it is all smoke and mirrors.  Where has there ever been any allegations that the Parking Authority has been run poorly or not followed rules. Businesses are more worried if the City takes over the Parking Authority, parking rates will hiked up and assests will be looked at to lease or sell to make the cash strapped City less in the red.  Follow the trail of the Mural Ordinance that was recently passed.  This past month Mr. Sarnoff says, ” I was shocked, to be honest with you. I didn’t see it coming! I had nothing to do with this! I was surprised”.  In the August 6, 2010 Miami Herald article on the shift of Karsh and Gonzalez to the CRA, this is the report: “Bockweg had spent the past two years working closely with Sarnoff to create the city’s mural ordinance.”     https://stephenmurrayactivism.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/6-questions-for-the-city-of-miami/ […]



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  • Disclaimer

    The contents of this blog do not reflect the opinions of the Coconut Grove Village Council, the Democratic National Committee, the Florida Democratic Party, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, or any elected official or organization referenced herein.

    All opinions are exclusively those of Stephen Murray.

    All content (c) 2010 Stephen Murray

  • Credit

    Blog Layout and Design: Cassie Oswald (http://www.cassieoswald.com)

    Banner Photo Credit: Lindsay Brown for The Miami Hurricane

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