The City of Coral Gables, So Much Gained and So Much Now Lost

In last few years the City of Coral Gables, under the leadership of a new mayor and city manager, reversed a course of incompetent administration, failed political leadership, questionable morality and ethics, and total financial mismanagement, all inherited from the Slesnick Era.  The city was left by Slesnick with no reserves, overpaid public security staff, and a huge pension debt (still not resolved after a huge effort).

A new period of transparency, cautious tax and income management, careful staffing and directed priorities has led the community to feel that the city has begun to overcome its main problems.  Smart investments have been made in the city streets because of long postponed maintenance.  Plans were made to create a new central city culture, to compete with the best in the Miami-Dade region. But there is still much to do.

Three days ago, a cabal of three city commissioners dramatically pushed the city down an uncertain road, an uncertain future, of gerry rigged budgets, surely guided by a renewed culture of personal and commercial interests and arrogance.  Nothing will be gained by the resignation of the city manager, Mr. Salerno.  He has been a tough, competent and experienced manager–just what the city needed and will need until the goals of the city can be fully achieved.

Rest assured that the profile of a new city manager that will be sought by the Cabal of Three will be one of compliance, not leadership, while the three likely push through a new budget with more spending, higher taxes, guided by priorities with quiet support of private interests.

There is only one recourse:

  • The city commissioner should immediately reject the resignation of Mr. Salerno.
  • The three city commissioners, Keon, Lago and Quesada, should resign immediately and a new election should be called to test their support among voters. 

Accountability and Transparency in Coral Gables

Even though the State of Florida has the strongest of government sunshine laws, there is a culture in the government of Coral Gables of holding back essential information from local citizens. Namely, the Federal Government is in the process of introducing a special website to follow the programs and expenditures of the multi-billion dollar Recovery Program. Why can’t the City of Coral Gables with its much smaller budget provide information on a website of investment and operating outlays and income. So far we have been getting stale information of already executed budgets or projected budgets, but not current outlays and revenues.  This would be a great contribution to citizen participation in government.