MIAMI (CBS4) – The days may be numbered for Miami police chief Miguel Exposito, after sources close to the chief told CBS4’s Jim DeFede Friday that he expects to be suspended following a Tuesday meeting with Miami City Manager Johnny Martinez. The charge is expected to be insubordination.
Exposito and Miami mayor Tomas Regalado have been locked in a battle over Exposito’s leadership of the department. The two men have been at each others throats in a series of public exchanges, and Regalado has made it clear he’d like to see the chief fired.
That’s not within the Mayor’s power, as only the city manager can fire the chief. However, a costly and controversial investigation of Exposito ordered by previous City Manager Tony Crapp provided no reason for firing Exposito, and Crapp left office shortly after the report was issued.
Since taking over as City Manager, the bad blood has continued between the Regalado administration and the chief. Exposito was muzzled by Martinez, and was ordered not to speak with the media unless communicating public safety information to the public.
Exposito’s office cited that order when reporters asked for a reaction to the report, which has not been officially confirmed by Martinez.
CBS4’s Defede said his sources say if Exposito is, in fact, suspended Tuesday, a Miami City Commission meeting will be held on Thursday, where the suspension will be addressed and, depending on the outcome of the meeting, Exposito could be terminated.
Exposito had been set to retire in January, 2012, a date to which he agreed when he signed a contract entering the “DROP” program, which allows public employees to work for a time after they started to receive their pension. Exposito, however, had recently claimed he’d made no such agreement and had no plans to retire in January.
Exposito was hand-picked by Regalado to take over as chief, and his choice was confirmed by the city commission. However, the honeymoon ended following a series of police shootings that inflamed the public, and a squabble between the Mayor and Exposito over “machinitas”, slot-machine-like devices that the city claims are legal but the chief believes are not.
The war of words escalated, and extended to the newly-hired city manager, who refused to allow the chief to demote some of his command staff. Exposito responded by keeping the men at their current rate of pay and position, but shifting them to dead-end jobs with little responsibility.
Martinez also sent the chief a letter telling him he could no longer speak to the media about any subject other than safety information for the public.