Legacy of the “Slesnick Commission”

The city is nearing the close of an era and we may be getting a different commission next year.  The end of what we might call the “Slesnick Commission” has left a background of living through a bubble economy, a break down in management oversight and an abortive adaptation to changing economic conditions.

The next commission and mayor will find:

  • Still a bloated government;
  • A pattern of relentless property tax increases in goods times and in bad;
  • Mismanagement of the Country Club lease;
  • Mismanagement of the Biltmore Hotel lease;
  • A $200 million (to date)  pension liability;
  • An accumulation of unsustainable salaries and benefits;
  • A contracting tax base;
  • A resistance to building the edifice of a modern, open, well organized government with the participation of residents in significant decisions;
  • Weak and compliant city boards;
  • Unwelcome and costly projects, such as the new museum;
  • A government without an apparent strategy to promote new industries and businesses in new growth clusters; and
  • The end of large-scale commercial and residential real estate development for long period.

Certainly, there have been achievements of the commission, but they are swamped by the problems.  Some of these problems are not the blame of the commission, including the inevitable economic collapse.  But the reaction of the City of Coral Gables to the crisis has been insipid.

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

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