Spence-Jones Going Back to Work

First day back at city hall for reinstated Miami commissioner

By Steve Litz and Brian Hamacher
|  Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011  |  Updated 7:09 PM EDT
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Spence-Jones Off the Hook

Steve Litz/NBCMiami.com

Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones on her first day back at Miami City Hall.

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Spence-Jones Back at Work

Suspended commissioner returns to Miami City Hall amid budget, employee squabbles.

Spence-Jones Back in Office

Michelle Spence-Jones has been cleared to return to Miami City Hall.
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Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones returned to city hall Wednesday for her first day back at work since she was given back her District 5 seat.

After arriving alone in a city SUV around 11 a.m. to a freshly-painted office, Spence-Jones said she was thrilled to be back -- and was ready to address the issues.

"The biggest issue for me right now is addressing the $61 million deficit, saving as many city jobs as possible and making sure that our residents receive the quality service that they deserve," she told NBCMiami.

Spence-Jones was officially reinstated by Gov. Rick Scott last Wednesday, ending her nearly two-year exile from the city commission. She was suspended twice before she was exonerated last week on theft and corruption charges.

Last Tuesday, prosecutors decided to drop a grand theft charge against Spence-Jones, the last remaining legal obstacle to the suspended commissioner regaining her post. In March, she was acquitted of bribery charges.

"I blame absolutely no one," she said, though she referred to the scandal as a "travesty of justice." 

"This should never have to happen to anybody. What my family had to endure was very difficult these last two years."

Spence-Jones will receive $183,210 in back pay for the two years she was exiled.

"My family, we deserve it," she said. "If we did absolutely nothing wrong we should not be punished for that, and anybody else that's put in that same situation they deserve to have it as well."

A full plate of issues met Spence-Jones on her first day, including the city's huge budget deficit.

"I want to make sure that District 5 residents receive adequate and essential city services as well as save city services," she said.

The budget issues are expected to be discussed at the next commission meeting, scheduled for Sept. 15.

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