Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales to Leave in February

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales to Leave in February:

Commission will discuss process for selecting replacement at its meeting this week

Quoting the Bible verse “To everything there is a season,” Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales advised Mayor Dan Gelber and City Commissioners that he will leave his position on February 1 to explore what’s next for him. 

“The year 2020 has thrown so many challenges in our direction, and I am sure it has given many of us serious pause and stimulated contemplation of our own lives, our families, the nature of our society and our place in the world. I have always felt that there would be at least one more chapter in my professional and community life. What the pandemic has made clear to me is that now is the time, now is the season, for me to begin to explore that future,” he wrote.

Morales, who has been in the City Manager's role for nearly eight years, is required under his contract to provide 90 days notice, but he said he “wanted to afford additional time for the City to have a smooth transition.” Emphasizing he is not leaving for another job, he wrote, “This is more about chasing my next adventure in life while I am still young enough to do so. I have always wondered what it might be like to teach at a university, run a large not-for-profit or community organization, work at an investment banking firm, work at a different level of government or perhaps even explore my entrepreneurial side.”

“My current job requires full time dedication. If I am going to explore that next chapter of my life, I will not be able to do it from where I sit today,” he wrote. “I must admit that I have never left one job without having another in its stead. But I have always encouraged young people to not be afraid to take risks and to embrace change. I am going to follow my own advice at this stage of my life.”

He reflected on some of his accomplishments including the completion of the new Convention Center, the creation of the North Beach Town Center and the North Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, the $450 million GO Bond program, a resiliency program and stormwater management program to address sea level rise, and 20 acres of new public parks and greenspace.

In one of his video addresses, Mayor Gelber called the news “bittersweet.” 

“I have known Jimmy since he was a middle school kid at Nautilus and it’s not an overstatement to say we have been close friends for nearly half a century,” Gelber said. “His story is an American story. His parents came here with nothing and made sure their son had opportunities unimaginable in other nations. I like to joke that Jimmy was class president, valedictorian and homecoming king of Beach High. Always modest, he politely corrects me each time: He was actually only salutatorian. He went on to Harvard undergrad and law, and a stellar career in public service in his own right – we were fortunate to have him steering our ship through the many challenges we’ve confronted. Jimmy will leave our City financially secure and a better version of itself. Our community will miss him as will I.”

Gelber said the process for choosing a replacement will be discussed at the City Commission’s meeting this week. “Fortunately, there will be many qualified candidates interested, including some of [Morales’] senior staff, that I believe already have proven themselves fully capable of taking on greater responsibility.”

Morales signed a new contract with the City a little over a year ago. Read his full statement regarding his resignation here.


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