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Miami Herald - February 21, 2006

The Miami-Dade County manager named two former bureaucrats to posts to address long-term water and affordable housing issues.

(Tony Crapp moved from being assistant County Manager to director of Office of Community Development)


Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess has brought two former bureaucrats back into the fold, tackling recent troubles at the county's water and sewer department and a renewed emphasis on affordable housing.

Former Miami Beach City Manager Roger Carlton has accepted an assistant county manager post overseeing several departments, including water and sewer. The state criticized the utility for not pursuing a usage plan that balances development with environmental needs.

Former assistant County Manager Cynthia Curry, once considered a candidate for county manager and aviation director, will serve as Burgess' senior advisor for economic development and housing initiatives.

Carlton -- who also served as an assistant county manager more than two decades ago -- and Curry will play key roles as the county grapples with two issues affecting generations of Miami-Dade residents, Burgess wrote in a memo announcing the appointments.

Bill Brant resigned as water department director last month following criticism of the utility from the South Florida Water Management District, which controls the area's water supply, and state environmental officials.

The county is asking the state to allow it to significantly increase the amount of water it will use for projected growth over the next two decades. But state officials said the department failed to convince them that Miami-Dade is aggressively searching for alternate sources of water whose usage won't harm the environment.

Burgess appointed John Renfrow, head of the county's environmental resource management, to replace Brant. Joe Ruiz, the current assistant county manager in charge of the water utility, has been moved to a deputy director position.

Carlton is a deputy director at Florida International University's Metropolitan Center. He also is a vice chairman of the construction committee of the Miami-Dade Performing Arts Center Trust. Construction troubles, including soaring costs and trouble keeping workers from defecting to private construction projects, have put the project 20 months behind schedule and $102.1 million over budget.

Curry also has ties to FIU. She became senior vice president of business and finance after serving with the county for 18 years. Since 1998 she has run her own consulting firm.

Burgess cited Curry's instrumental role in bringing federal empowerment zone money to some of the county's poorest areas. She also oversaw the South Dade recovery effort for the county following Hurricane Andrew and was appointed by the governor to a financial oversight board during the City of Miami's budget crisis in the late 1990s.

Assistant County Manager Tony Crapp was moved from his current position to serve as a full-time coordinator overseeing the county's community redevelopment agencies which attempt to reverse economic decline in blighted areas.
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