The incoming City of Miami Police Chief, Art Acevedo, is expected to bring a high profile to the job. His salary from city taxpayers will also be much higher than his predecessor’s.
The city increased the position’s salary to close the deal, and a decision that's bringing some early criticism.
According to the city’s online portal, staff posted the position with a salary between $195,000 and $230,000. Former Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina confirmed he made around $230,000 when he left.
NBC 6 Investigators obtained the offer letter from the city to Chief Acevedo. He’ll be coming into the position making $315,000, with a possible 5% increase in the following years, pending a positive review.
“That’s unheard of. That’s unheard of. And I don’t believe it’s right,” said city of Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes.
The high salary is one reason Commissioner Reyes is critical of the new hire. The other was the process by which Acevedo was chose.
NBC 6 Investigators obtained the list of more than 50 other candidates who applied for the job. Chief Acevedo was not on the list, getting the job over eight finalists: five from within the Miami Police Department and others from Philadelphia, New York, and Pittsburgh.
Chief Acevedo was a surprise candidate. Few knew the high profile chief was even being considered until the city recently announced he got the job.
“We don’t need a high profile. We don’t need a super star, using the media to promote himself. What we need is a police officer,” Reyes said.
Chief Acevedo does have supporters on Dinner Key.
Commissioners Ken Russel, Jeffrey Watson, and Joe Carollo had welcome words for him at the press conference announcing the hire. Mayor Francis Suarez described him as the “Michael Jordan of police chiefs.”
When asked about Reyes’ comments, Mayor Suarez told NBC 6 he thought the commissioner supported the hire.
“To attract him from a city like Houston, which is the fourth largest city in America, you have to pay something that’s attractive,” Mayor Suarez said. “So it was a wonderful recruiting job by our manager to get essentially what is America’s police chief here to Miami.”
City Manager Art Noriega defended the salary in a statement, writing, “The salary of the new chief is commensurate with his experience. He has been chief of two very large police departments for over 13 years. He is currently the President of the Major City Chiefs Association as is widely regarded as one of the best law enforcement executives in the country.”
As for the process, Noriega said, “The decision is left to the total discretion of the City Manager… What I want the public to understand is that there were some good candidates and absent the availability of someone of Chief Acevedo’s caliber, I would have definitely made a selection from the list of finalists. The time and effort put forth by both the law enforcement advisory group and the public interview committee were extremely helpful and provided me with incredible insight. I simply couldn’t pass on the opportunity to hire a professional of Chief Acevedo’s capability.”
NBC 6 reached out to Chief Acevedo but has not yet heard back. He’ll oversee 1,400 police officers.
The city will also pay $50,000 for Acevedo to move to Miami. The chief will get $700 monthly allowance for car and phone expenses.