Miami Beach City Manager Reorganizes Office, Responsibilities

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Miami Beach City Manager Reorganizes Office, Responsibilities:

Neighborhood Affairs Division Added

The organizational structure at City Hall has been overhauled by Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales to coincide with the arrival of a new Assistant City Manager. Alina Tejeda Hudak joined the City this week as one of three ACMs, replacing Susy Torriente who left for the private sector in December.

Morales is moving the four departments responsible for implementing the City’s resiliency strategy – including the neighborhood improvement and stormwater projects – under Hudak. They are Capital Improvement Projects (CIP), Public Works, Environment and Sustainability, and Marketing and Communications. Previously those departments were under three different direct reports.

Hudak, who spent 35 years in Miami-Dade County government – “rising through the ranks of County government from a management trainee to her final role as Deputy Mayor” according to a City press release – will also be responsible for Transportation and Mobility and Housing and Community Development. Her experience will help in “cementing our working relationship with our important resiliency partners at the County” which include efforts to mitigate flooding from sea level rise but also issues of traffic, attainable housing and homelessness, which Morales said in a letter to Commissioners, “also form part of our resiliency strategy.”

According to the City’s announcement of her hiring, Hudak “led the County’s nationally-recognized response to the ZIKA emergency in 2016, recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as the only government to eradicate the disease transmission successfully, and the County’s largest debris removal effort after Hurricane Irma.”

“I also viewed this as an opportunity to address the goal of building the capacity of my leadership team,” Morales said in announcing he has assigned ACM Eric Carpenter “a new portfolio that will enable him to expand his managerial experiences.” Building, Planning, Economic Development, Parking, and Code Compliance now report to Carpenter. In addition to other responsibilities, Carpenter previously was responsible for the Capital Improvement Projects group and Public Works, which have struggled with implementing the City’s resiliency efforts, both because of a “pause” for multiple reviews of the program and for missteps on projects in Indian Creek and Palm and Hibiscus Islands.

Of Carpenter’s new responsibilities, Morales wrote, “I also think these departments can benefit from a fresh perspective. Eric has recently been involved with development projects at the City that resulted in important public benefits and positive private development that will improve neighborhoods and add to the tax base.” One of the high profile developments Carpenter has shepherded is the 500-700 Alton Road project that, after a legal challenge, can now proceed. One of Carpenter's areas of focus, Morales said, will be improving the City’s permitting process.

ACM Mark Taxis, who focuses on the internal service departments, now has the Parks Department within his portfolio. “By adding one of the largest departments, and therefore one of the largest consumers of internal services, I hope that the perspectives and experiences of the internal customer can be brought more fully into the discussions, and thereby improve internal customer service,” Morales said of the move.

A new Division of Grants and Intergovernmental Affairs will allow the City “to up our game with respect to our state and federal lobbying efforts,” according to Morales.  
 
New Org Chart under the City Manager

Chief of Staff Marcia Monserrat
  • Tourism and Culture
  • Grants and Intergovernmental affairs

Chief Resiliency Officer Amy Knowles
  • Strategic Planning

Chief Financial Officer John Woodruff
  • Budget

Program Director Maria Hernandez
  • GO Bond program
  • Convention Center district

ACM Eric Carpenter
  • Building
  • Planning
  • Economic Development
  • Parking
  • Code Compliance

ACM Alina Tejeda Hudak
  • Capital Improvement Projects (CIP)
  • Public Works
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Transportation and Mobility
  • Housing and Community Development

ACM Mark Taxis
  • Parks
  • Procurement
  • Property Management
  • Fleet Management
  • Human Resources
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Organizational Development and Education

Fire Chief Virgilio Fernandez
  • Fire and Rescue
  • Fire Prevention
  • Police Safety Communications Unit (PSCU) [Dispatch]
  • Emergency Management

Police Chief Rick Clements
  • Police
  • Security Guards
 
New Neighborhood Affairs Division


Morales also announced the creation of a Neighborhood Affairs Division that will be part of the Office of Marketing and Communications. Currently, the City has communications staff within departments and on contract who are responsible for specific projects including construction, infrastructure, transportation, the GO Bond, environmental issues and resilience.

In announcing the move Morales said, the new division will “increase the quality and consistency of communications within our community, but also increase the level of collaboration between city departments – ensuring that our residents are fully informed and educated on everything they need and may want to know.”

The current, structure, he said, has sometimes resulted in “inefficiencies in getting information to our residents.”

Following the example of the Miami Beach Police Department’s Neighborhood Resource Officer program, the communications outreach team will be consolidated under the Marketing and Communications Department and focus their responsibilities geographically.

“[E]ffective immediately we will divide the outreach positions into North Beach, Middle Beach and South Beach,” Morales wrote in a letter to Commissioners. “The neighborhood outreach liaisons will become the expert for their area and serve as the contact for anything that is happening in their respective neighborhood. The liaison will focus on continuing relationships with the neighborhood associations and stakeholders, overseeing project outreach for neighborhood improvement projects in the area and providing notifications for any scheduled closures or other neighborhood impacts.”

A citywide liaison will coordinate with the three local liaisons, oversee the Neighborhood Leadership Academy, foster relationships with community organizations, host quarterly HOA meetings, coordinate City Hall tours, coordinate all city public meetings and act as the City’s Condo Ombudsman.

Hiring of external communication contractors will fall within the new Division. Currently, those consultants are hired by some departments to focus on large-scale projects. “This can lead to having too many voices addressing city matters, which may cause communication gaps,” Morales said. “We will be examining the use of external [Public Information Officers], looking at streamlining their hiring and exploring opportunities for cost savings.”

 

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