Jun 6, 2023 - News

Miami preservation officer latest division head to leave city

Photo illustration of Miami City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The head of Miami's historic preservation office left her role with the city last week — the latest in a series of preservation officers to leave the division.

Why it matters: Staff turnover can bog down the work of preserving the city's architectural and archaeological heritage, from approving new developments to protecting ancient Native American settlements.

  • Anna Pernas, who led the preservation office for a little over a year, is the seventh preservation officer to leave the position since 2015, Christine Rupp, executive director of the Dade Heritage Trust, tells Axios.

What they're saying: Although the preservation office has a high number of overall employees, leadership changes can lead to delays because the new hire has a steep learning curve, Rupp says.

  • "When you have that kind of turnover in any administrative position, the major thing is the loss of institutional knowledge."
  • She believes part of the reason so many employees have left the division is because staff aren't "insulated" from Miami politics, such as getting phone calls from commissioners questioning their decisions, Rupp says.

What we're watching: Denise Galvez Turros, a member of the city's Historic and Environmental Preservation Board, tells Axios that Pernas is a Miami native who pushed to move key projects along. Turros fears there will be delays now that she's gone.

  • "Anyone capable at the city never lasts more [than] a year," she says. "It's sad but that is the reality."
  • Both Galvez Turros and Rupp say turnover issues have also plagued other positions in the Building and Planning departments.

Of note: Neither the city of Miami nor Pernas responded to requests for comment about the reason for Pernas' departure or recent turnover in the division.


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