City of Coral Gables: Salerno’s Achievements

The recently resigned city manager of the city of Coral Gables, Pat Salerno, published a list of achievements of his period of administration.

I think that these are his main achievements:

  • Strong and decisive management.
  • Minimization of the involvement of city commissioners in the day-to-day life of the municipal government.
  • Weakening of the culture of fiefdoms in the city offices.
  • Implementing sound financial management, including reducing taxes and growing reserves.
  • Ameliorating exaggerated salaries, benefits, and pensions of police and fire services.
  • Planned, organized and financed improvements in the city’s infrastructure and beautification.

Hopefully, the city commissioners will direct the new city manager to sustain the above culture, and not fall pry to the Slesnick/Brown culture of city commission intromission and micro-management.

Coral Gables Can’t Manage The Biltmore

I have written before that the city of Coral Gables has no business owning a large, historic hotel, and the last few years have shown us is that the city is over its head. The city management have been incapable of auditing and managing the hotel’s lease.

Perhaps the hotel should be returned to the federal government and the National Park Service, which has the policies and the money to keep track of what is happening at the hotel without getting itself tied up in unseemly relations with the hotel’s management.

The city will not have the resources and willpower in the future to keep track of the Biltmore, even if it wins a costly legal battle with the lessee, and we will then return to the same problem again.  Certainly, the Biltmore is a great asset for Miami-Dade county, but the city of Coral Gables is too small an operation to care for its historic qualities.

More On Gov. Scott Killing Florida’s Growth and Environmental Management

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Future Role of Florida’s Regional Planning Councils?

We now understand that when he signed the budget last week, Gov. Scott line-item vetoed $2.5 million of general revenue in state funding for Florida’s Regional Planning Councils. In return for a portion of this funding, every year the state’s 11 RPCs each enter into contracts with the Department of Community Affairs to provide specified regional planning services.

Effective July 1, the RPCs will no longer receive this funding and will need to determine what services they will provide for their state-mandated functions. It is important to note that this funding is typically a small portion of each RPC’s annual budget.

While HB 7207 made sweeping changes to many aspects of Florida’s growth management system, it left the statutory functions of the RPCs largely intact. How or if RPCs will interact with local governments on the review of comprehensive plans, amendments and Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs) as required by state law is unknown at this time.

On a related issue, the growth management bill HB 7207 was transmitted to the Governor’s Office last week and he has 15 days to sign it into law.

1000 Friends will continue to provide regular updates on the many changes to Florida’s growth management process brought about by the 2011 Legislature and Governor Scott. Please visit www.1000fof.org, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@floridafriends) for timely updates.