Miami Beach City Manager Offers To Resign in May 2013

"If he doesn't resign we can fire him tomorrow," Commissioner Jonah Wolfson said of Jorge Gonzalez

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    NEWSLETTERS

    At a Tuesday morning Breakfast Club meeting at David's Cafe on Miami Beach, City manager Jorge Gonzalez said residents gave the city high ratings in a recent survey. Commissioner Jonah Wolfson said of Gonzalez, "If he doesn't resign we can fire him tomorrow."

    Miami Beach City Manager Jorge Gonzalez said in a letter to Mayor Matti Bower and the City Commission Tuesday that he would like to resign from his position – effective a year from now.

    "After a great deal of thought and personal introspection, I have concluded that it is time to resign my position as city manager, effective May 10, 2013," Gonzalez wrote. "I do so with a continued sense of responsibility and commitment to ensure an orderly and proper transition. I have dedicated myself to discharging my duties with professionalism, honor and integrity, and am committed to continuing to do so through this transition period."

    Gonzalez's move came as he was under pressure to resign, with one commissioner saying earlier Tuesday that a vote was going to be held on his fate Wednesday.

    At a Tuesday morning Breakfast Club meeting at David's Cafe on Miami Beach, Gonzalez said residents gave the city high ratings in a recent survey, and said the alleged corruption that has recently scared the city doesn't reflect the majority of employees who do good work.

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    "The city is doing well, people are happy, the government is meeting their expectations, life is positive and getting better," Gonzalez said.

    But many angry residents fed up with a string of scandals called for him to step down from the post he's held for nearly 12 years. They blamed Gonzalez for not rooting out bad behavior.

    Recently, seven city employees were arrested and hit with corruption charges in an FBI South Beach nightclub sting.

    "Some really bad stuff has happened and I think the right thing to do is to move on, to move on (from) this manager because it's just not acceptable," Commissioner Jonah Wolfson said.

    He says commissioners would vote at Wednesday's Miami Beach commission meeting on whether to remove the manager. Four of seven votes are needed to fire Gonzalez.

    "If he doesn't resign we can fire him tomorrow," Wolfson added.

    Gonzalez would not comment on what others say is inevitable.

    Supporter and Mayor Bower, who was in attendance, would not confirm his fate.

    "I have no new news to give you," she told NBC 6.

    Gonzalez focused on his plan to root out and prevent corruption. He urged residents to come forward and report something if it looks wrong.

    "We cannot sit back and expect that someone has the complete and total responsibility to find every instance of every wrongdoing that might occur in this city. It's impossible," he said.

    But some said they're scared to speak up.

    "It's so bad that people are even afraid to call the police department or call City Hall when they're being a victim of a shakedown – they have to call the FBI," resident Mike Burke said.

    Commissioner Ed Tobin says change starts with a new administration.

    "We need a clean – we need to start from scratch, I'd like for Jorge to resign tomorrow," he said.

    In his letter, Gonzalez said he is proud of the accomplishments and successes during his tenure.

    "I am extremely fortunate and proud to have been able to manage and grow one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world – in a place I call home!" he said. "There comes a point, however, when it is time to move on and allow others a similar opportunity."

    Gonzalez said he is focused on finishing several projects. At the top of the list: "Aggressively implementing the actions and measures I have proposed to ensure that employee misconduct and/or corruption is rooted out of this organization and our community."

    The Miami Beach City Commission meeting starts Wednesday at 5 p.m.

    Read the full letter from the city manager here.