A Strong Mayor-County Manager Government for Miami-Dade

Alvarez’s plan for strong mayor clears a roadblock

Alvarez has argued for a strong-mayor form of government since he took office in 2004, saying it would make him more accountable to the public and rein in corruption. The proposal would give the county mayor the authority to hire and fire department heads and the county manager, and more control over the awarding of substantial county contracts.

There is no doubt that the County Commissioner-County Manager form of government needs to be changed in Miami-Dade. Miami-Dade County is the largest city that has this system in the U.S. and it is a system that has lost favor with local and city governments. By far the dominant system of small local government organization in the U.S. is the Council-City Manager system in which the City Manager is given wide authority to appoint and manager the city under supervision of the Council and Mayor. Moving to a strong mayor is more the model of large cities. One danger of the Alvarez proposal is that the County Manager will not have the authority to select the department heads, which continues a model of excessive politicization of management in this county.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

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