Jan 30, 2024 - News

Amid investigations, Miami mayor wants more power

Photo illustration of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez with lines radiating from him.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios; Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

During his annual state of the city speech Tuesday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez did not discuss the multiple investigations into his outside work that have cast a shadow over his administration.

  • But he asked for more authority as mayor and said he would support hiring an independent auditor to do "conflict checks" on city officials.

Why it matters: The real estate attorney and part-time mayor — who is reportedly under investigation by the FBI, State Attorney's Office and county ethics commission — is seeking broad administrative powers by announcing support for a ballot measure that would make him a so-called "strong mayor."

  • In 2018, voters shot down a similar proposal Suarez championed to make him top official at City Hall in charge of the budget, public employees and city contracts.
  • Suarez spent most of Tuesday's speech touting the city's low homicide rate, along with efforts to build housing and address homelessness.

What they're saying: "No government is perfect but our record is strong and historic," Suarez said in his address. "And whenever we can improve and innovate, we must and we will. From homelessness to transparency."

What else: Suarez also said he would advance or support ballot measures expanding the five-person commission to seven members and moving elections to even years to increase turnout.

The latest: The Miami Herald reported Tuesday that Suarez advocated last year for a software company with ties to one of his private employers to receive a no-bid city contract.

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