MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – A group of Miami Beach residents is banding together in support of embattled City Manager Jorge Gonzalez.
Over cocktails and quiet conversation at Cafe Avanti on the beach, the small gathering of about 40 people expressed confidence in Gonzalez, some even signed a letter to the Mayor and Commissioners asking them to renew the city’s manager’s contract.
“Jorge Gonzalez, in my 52 years here, in my 40 years in business on Miami Beach, is probably the best city manager we’ve ever had,” said resident Jimmy Resnick. His father, Abe Resnick, was a former Miami Beach City Commissioner.
“Instead of being the silent majority, we’re the vocal majority,” Resnick said. ‘We want to show how important it is for us, for the good of the city, for Jorge to remain as city manager.”
Friday’s gathering was peaceful, unlike last week’s protest where Mayor Matti Herrera Bower engaged in a shouting match with the mob.
“You have failed,” one protester yelled.
“I know. I know,” the mayor responded.
Bower said then she was angry and ashamed over the recent indictments of six city employees accused of taking kickbacks and bribes from businesses.
While Gonzalez’s supporters say there’s no room for corruption in the city, they stress the burden of responsibility should not fall solely on the City Manager.
“I think he’s terrific,” said Elsie Howard, the former president of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority. “It would be a big mistake for this city to jettison him, and it would be a crime if his contract was not renewed.”
The group plans to present a letter with several signatures to the board at next Wednesday’s commission meeting asking for a vote of confidence in Gonzalez.
CBS4 News contacted the City Manager and his office told us, while he was aware of today’s meeting, he chose not to attend. He said he was honored, but that Friday’s meeting was really all about the community.