MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Beach City Manager Jorge Gonzalez wanted to stay on the job another year when he turned in his resignation, but the city commission said he will be done a lot sooner.
On Wednesday, commissioners voted 5-2 to accept Gonzalez’s resignation and bump up his last day to July 8, 2012.
The decision comes a day after Gonzalez submitted a letter of resignation to the city’s mayor and six commissioners following weeks of speculation that he would be fired during Wednesday’s city commission meeting. He said he would resign on May 10, 2013.
“I feel excited about the future, happy with my contribution,” Gonzalez told CBS4 News after the meeting concluded. “More than proud. 12 years, more than anybody ever expected. Sometimes things happen in life and move forward, and it’s time for me to move forward.”
Commissioner Ed Tobin was one of several commissioners who wanted Gonzalez gone immediately.
“I’d like to see a fresh start. He’s got one year of severance and a significant pension that he’ll be able to collect relatively soon. He gets $150,000 a year for life. He’ll walk away with about $300,000 in a year of severance in addition to some other health benefits. I think it’s time, I think the city is a great city but I think we need to move on, I think it’ll be difficult to hire new employees with the city in transition like this.”
In his resignation letter, Gonzalez wrote “After a great deal of thought and personal introspection, I have concluded that it is time to resign my position as City Manager, effective May 10, 2013. I do so with a continued sense of responsibility and commitment to ensure an orderly and proper transition.”
Gonzalez has been city manager for more than a decade, but has been fighting for his $273,000-a-year job since mid-April, when the FBI filed charges of extortion against seven city code and fire inspectors accused of shaking down a South Beach nightclub.
Gonzalez told a group of angry residents Tuesday that despite those city employees being arrested for corruption, he’s believes the city government under his leadership is doing a good job.
He credits himself with helping increase the city’s tourism and residents’ satisfaction with services.