Gov. Scott Reinstates Spence-Jones as Miami Commish

Michelle Spence-Jones set to make her triumphant return to Miami City Hall

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Michelle Spence-Jones has been cleared to return to Miami City Hall. (Published Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011)

    Michelle Spence-Jones will once again call Miami City Hall home and this time she won't have to fight for her seat at the table.

    The District 5 commissioner, who has been booted from her seat on the dais twice, said Wednesday she is grateful to be back after she was exonerated on theft and corruption charges in recent months.

    Spence-Jones Addresses Charges Against Her

    [MI] Spence-Jones Addresses Charges Against Her
    Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones addresses the corruption charges she's facing. (Published Friday, Nov 13, 2009)

    Gov. Rick Scott officially reinstated Spence-Jones late Wednesday afternoon, ending her two-year exile from City Hall "effective immediately," an executive order read.

    "My experience with the justice system has made me a much wiser person and it has strengthened my commitment to public service," she said. "I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to continue serving the citizens of the City of Miami, particularly the residents of District 5."

    Spence-Jones Off the Hook

    [MI] Spence-Jones Off the Hook
    Suspended Miami City Commissioner is acquitted of bribery. (Published Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011)

    The shake up at City Hall means Richard Dunn will be the odd man out on the commission. Dunn won the election to replace Spence-Jones in 2010 and has been very vocal in his time as a public official.

    But Wednesday he said he would not stand in the way of the returning commissioner.

    "It was clear to me this was a possibility when I was appointed as well as when I was elected by the people and I'm quite blessed because I had the opportunity to serve," Dunn said.

    On 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.

    According to the city charter, Spence-Jones is entitled to her spot and the nearly two years of salary she missed while being suspended. Spence-Jones is owed more than $100,000.

    It's unclear if the city is on the hook to pay her legal bills.

    Mayor Tomas Regalado, who has butted heads with Spence-Jones when they both served on the commission, said he welcomed his former colleague's return.

    "if you're found innocent, you're entitled to get your back pay and of course the city will honor it," he said.

    No date has been set for Spence-Jones to rejoin the commission, but her plate will be full when she arrives. The city is currently dealing with a huge budget deficit, a feud between Regalado and the police chief and mounting frustrations and police shootings in Spence-Jones' district.

    Spence-Jones has been quiet on all of the issues as she dealt with her legal problems, but she has never been shy about speaking her mind, a fact her peers know all too well.

    "This is the Magic City so I deal with whatever comes my way," Commissioner Frank Carollo said of Spence-Jones' return.