By The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter
Based on his mailers and presentations, it is clear that Lew Thaler does not understand how our local government is structured and is intended to run. We would like to help him out (as well as those voters he may have confused).
Our City Charter acts as our City’s constitution and clearly describes that we operate under a Commission-Manager form of government, very much like other municipalities in South Florida. The City Commission is responsible for setting policy, approving budgets, determining tax rates, hiring and firing charter officers and the development of community land policies. The Commission, which includes the Mayor, reviews and votes on the policies that define official parameters, including those within which the City Manager must perform his duties. The Commission works on a part-time basis, which allows our elected officials to serve our City in addition to having independent careers. As with other municipalities, the part-time nature of the Commission’s role in Sunny Isles is reflected in the salaries our City currently offers: the Mayor receives an annual salary of $14,000, whereas the City Manager receives an annual salary of $212,000.
The City Manager, selected by the City Commission, is responsible for the administration of all departments and divisions of City government and for carrying out policies adopted by the City Commission. He is responsible for the appointment, supervision and removal of all City employees except our City attorney and his staff. He prepares and submits budgets to the Commission, an annual report on finances and administrative activities of the City. (More information can be found at www.sibfl.net ). In short, the City Manager, a full-time well compensated professional, is the one who manages our City.
Lew Thaler is disingenuous when he states that he will be your “full time mayor” knowing that one is not required or needed. Thaler wants voters to believe that he is more qualified than a business executive because he can offer quantity of time, while we prefer the idea of Bud Scholl offering more than ample quality time.
What Lew Thaler also fails to mention is that Commissioner Scholl will keep regularly scheduled hours at City Hall. Furthermore, when not physically at City Hall, Bud Scholl will still be readily accessible. In today’s world, individuals are no longer tied to a particular desk at a particular place, but rather execute in a more mobile, fluid manner through various technologies. Bud Scholl and most residents understand and prefer this. Perhaps Lew Thaler does not, and as such continues to push his antiquated notion.
Unlike Lew Thaler, informed voters understand that being a municipal leader can, and often does, go hand in hand with being a successful business person. For example:
Aventura, our neighbor to the west, had Mayor Jeff Perlow who successfully combined being mayor and a partner in a law firm. Aventura with a population of 36,981 is much larger than Sunny Isles Beach (population 21,395). Their charter specifically states “the position of Mayor is considered to be part-time.” The annual salaries for the Mayor and City Manager positions reflect the different level of responsibility and are similar to those in Sunny Isles: Aventura’s part- time Mayor earns $10,000, while the full-time City Manager’s salary is $231,974.72.
Miami Beach, our neighbor to the south has Mayor Philip Levine, a successful businessman who is currently CEO of Royal Media Partners, the exclusive partner of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. Miami Beach’s population is 90,588. The part-time mayor’s annual salary is $10,000, while the full-time City Manager’s annual salary is $255,000.
Let’s not forget that a little known place called New York City, with its population of over 8,000,000, had Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a high profile billionaire businessman who managed to run the Big Apple quite successfully while also handling his many business interests around the globe.
Of course, we could go on and on. But we won’t. You get the point.
The choice for this mayoral race is: Bud Scholl, a successful businessman whose time management skills are so exceptional that he has been able to be a family man and grow various businesses while successfully serving as Commissioner in Sunny Isles Beach. Or, Lew Thaler, a man who apparently, and by his own repeated admission, needs to work full time hours to perform a part time job.
Quality or Quantity? It’s up to you Sunny Isles Beach voters!