Google Ads help pay the expense of maintaining this site
Click Here for the Neighborhood Transformation Website
Miami Herald - July 7, 2007
Troubled housing agency gets new temporary chief
Fair Use Disclaimer
Neighborhood Transformation is a nonprofit,
noncommercial website that, at times, may contain copyrighted material
that have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. It makes such material available in its efforts to advance the
understanding of poverty and low income distressed neighborhoods in
hopes of helping to find solutions for those problems. It believes that
this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as
provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Persons wishing to
use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of their own that
go beyond 'fair use' must first obtain permission from the copyright
26-year city employee and Iraq War veteran was appointed director of
Miami's scandal-plagued housing agency after the previous director
refused a demotion.
By Larry Lebowitz
Manager Pete Hernandez on Friday appointed a 26-year veteran employee
as the interim director of the housing agency that has been rocked by
scandal, scathing audits and criminal investigations.
picked Hector Mirabile to serve as the interim community development
director while the city launches a ''broad search'' to replace the
ousted Barbara Gomez.
Gomez, 49, was suspended indefinitely
earlier this week after she refused to accept a demotion to a
$120,000-a-year assistant director's post in another city department.
seemingly successful tenure managing the community development agency
was derailed in recent weeks after The Miami Herald published
investigative articles detailing financial mismanagement, cronyism and
botched housing projects that cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
has been mounting on Gomez to step down after the newspaper reported
that Gomez had steered contracts to companies that employed one of her
ex-husbands and her son. Prosecutors are now investigating. City
leaders have also been slammed on radio, television and news editorials
for trying to give a financial buyout to Gomez -- who has said that
city politicians knew about, and supported, her deals.
Department of Community Development provides essential services to city
residents, and it is imperative that this important work continue with
as little interruption as possible,'' Hernandez said in a statement.
``After carefully considering Hector's professional skills and
dedication, I have determined that he is the most fitting candidate to
head the department on a short-term basis.''
A decorated U.S.
Army reservist who served as an infantry battalion commander in Iraq,
Mirabile most recently served as management's chief negotiator in
recently concluded contract talks with the city's four largest labor
The bulk of Mirabile's city
service is with the police department. As an administrative major, he
managed a $180 million budget, purchasing, grant management, capital
improvements and legislation. He also has extensive auditing and
accounting credentials, which will come in handy in a department that
was recently slammed by auditors for failing to abide by basic city
rules for competitive bidding and tracking affordable housing payments
''We are satisfied that Barbara has been suspended
without pay,'' Mayor Manny Diaz -- once a key Gomez supporter -- said
in a prepared statement. ``We strongly support the appointment of
Hector Mirabile. I look forward to working with him on implementing a
series of reforms identified from our examination of the audit.''
PAY CUT REJECTED
refused to accept a $24,000 pay cut and a demotion to an assistant
director's post in the Neighborhood Enforcement Team office, which
responds to street-level citizen complaints and requests for services.
she had taken the demotion and held it for a year, she would have
completed 10 years of city service and vested for a pension that could
have paid out upward of $1 million in her retirement years.
Gomez failed to respond by a 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline, and Hernandez
suspended her without pay. Reached by phone at her Miami Lakes home, a
sobbing Gomez declined to comment: ``I really can't talk.''
Miami Herald staff writer Michael Vasquez contributed to this report.