Coral Gables Commission Debates City Manager Selection Process

The Coral Gables City Commission meeting grappled with the contentious process for selecting a new city manager, resulting in a divided vote and raising concerns over transparency and procedural integrity. The discussion centered on whether to appoint Anamos Roas Jr. as the new city manager or to undertake a more typical hiring process. The debate revealed deep divisions among the commission members, with some advocating for an immediate appointment to address the vacancy which has been open since last July and others calling for a standardized process involving public engagement.

The commission eventually voted to appoint the new city manager, despite some commissioners expressing reservations about not following a traditional hiring process. The resolution appointing Roas as the city manager, which included his salary and benefits package, was approved with some dissenting votes.

In addition to the city manager selection, the commission discussed a resolution calling for a special election on a non-binding straw ballot question regarding the possible annexation of Little Gables. The conversation delved into the potential impact of State Statute SP102 on the area, touching upon considerations about height, density, and the use of properties. There was concern among some commission members that the language of the ballot might not fully communicate the financial implications of annexation to voters. The commission explored options for informing residents, including providing information through the city’s website or utility bills.

The discussion on the annexation issue also involved a debate about the implications of the straw ballot results. The City Attorney clarified that the results would not be binding and that the decision to move forward with annexation would ultimately be in the hands of the commission. Concerns were also raised about the potential financial burden on residents and the displacement of those living in a trailer park.

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Another topic addressed at the meeting was the city’s efforts to enhance public safety and recognize the contributions of law enforcement officers. Sergeant Bo Williams was commended for his quick response in apprehending a vehicle burglar and three other subjects, earning him the officer of the month award for December 2023. Sergeant Risa Martis was recognized as the officer of the year for her dedication to breaking up an organized crime ring.

The commission also discussed community initiatives, including the Keep Coral Gables Beautiful program, which received an Innovation Impact Award for its reverse vending machine initiative. The program’s success in recycling over 18,000 containers was a highlight, with plans for the next downtown cleanup effort slated for April 1st.

Public comments brought attention to concerns about governance, transparency, and professionalism within the commission. Resident Richard L. announced his intention to run for commissioner, focusing on improving the quality of life for citizens and providing taxpayer relief. Maria Cruz highlighted instances of misconduct within the city government, including an employee depositing city checks into their personal account and unsupervised expenditures on non-essential items.

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The commission also touched on the Peacock Mitigation Program, addressing the growing peafowl population and related nuisances. Dennis Ali, president of the Miami Blue chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, addressed the commission on the issue of invasive species, particularly focusing on the impact of Indian peafowls on the local ecosystem.

Other discussions included the implementation of green and white bicycle lane markings to improve safety and visibility, the consideration of housing for teachers and service personnel on school property, and the need for the city to educate residents about available school programs. The commission emphasized the importance of addressing the mental health of students and teachers and improving the city’s website to include more information about schools and events.

The meeting concluded with acknowledgments for ongoing community efforts, including the recent maintenance work on the Blue Road Bridge, the importance of sidewalk improvements, and the need for a new curb maintenance plan. The commission also discussed the cleanliness of the downtown area, with a focus on engaging with business owners to maintain the city’s aesthetics.

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Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Vince C. Lago
City Council Officials:
Rhonda Anderson, Kirk R. Menendez, Melissa Castro, Ariel Fernandez

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