From CBS4 Investigates
MIAMI (CBS4) – Family, friends and supporters of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones gathered at the Black Box Theater in Hadley Park on Thursday to watch as she officially returned to office.
The embattled commissioner was sworn in at noon by attorney Peter Raben who administered the oath.
The event caps off what has been a tumultuous two years for the commissioner, who was suspended from office in 2009 following allegations of grand theft and corruption.
Earlier this year, Spence-Jones was acquitted at trial on charges that she had solicited a $25,000 bribe from a prominent developer. Five months after the acquittal, unrelated grand theft charges were dropped against her.
Due to Spence-Jones’ reinstatement, Commissioner Richard Dunn, who was elected to fill her seat, is now out. Spence-Jones is entitled to back pay and benefits for the time she was suspended, according to the City of Miami charter.
Spence-Jones admitted she has a lot of work ahead of her, including a rash of police involved shootings in her district, the city’s budget gap and deciding the fate of recently suspended Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito.
“I think the issue has become too personal,” Spence-Jones told CBS4’s Jawan Strader. “When things become too personal, it stops movement in the overall city. Honestly, I’ve been saying this from day one since I got back, our focus needs to be on the $61 million budget gap.”
Spence-Jones will return to the commission chambers for a meeting on September 15.