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Golden Parachute Gives Ousted Beach Manager Soft Landing

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Miami Beach City Manager Jorge Gonzalez, forced to resign Wednesday, will leave office in 60 days with more than a fistful of dollars.

Commissioner Ed Tobin estimated that Gonzalez will walk out the door with a lump sum payout of about $300,000—a year’s salary, plus unused time off and other benefits—and draw an annual pension of about $125,000, beginning at the age of 55.

Gonzalez has been with the city only 12 years.

Some Miami Beach residents were slack-jawed to learn of the “golden parachute” Gonzalez will receive.

“It’s outrageous,” said one man coming to do business at city hall.

“It seems like an excessive amount of money,” said another.

“I’m not very happy about it,” a woman said.

Gonzalez said a deal’s a deal.

“My contract is what my contract is, and I’m sure they’ll honor my contract,” Gonzalez told reporters Wednesday.

The sweetheart deal for Gonzalez is in keeping with the terms of his contract and with city policy.

It comes as many cities are moving to trim generous pay and pensions that executives and rank and file employees have come to expect.

Miami has won concessions on salaries and pensions and is moving to reduce them even further.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said employees and their bosses get it.

“They are coming to the table because they understand that there is no money to throw around,” Regalado told CBS4’s Gary Nelson. “We are not going to raise taxes.”

Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson said the generous deal cut for Gonzalez should be the last.

“Municipalities can’t survive with these high level employees making these bizarre amounts,” Wolfson said. “I’ve proposed some measures, including a $100,000 cap on pensions.  Hopefully we can get these things through in the near future.”

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