Jan 31, 2024 - Politics

Doral city manager fired after conflict of interest allegations

Doral City Manager Barbie Hernandez

Doral City Manager Barbie Hernandez. Photo: City of Doral

Doral City Manager Barbie Hernandez was removed from her position Wednesday.

Why it matters: The move came despite dozens of community members calling for the council to reconsider and only after the city agreed to fire her "without cause" so she could collect severance pay.

What happened: In a 3–2 city council vote, the dissents came from Mayor Christi Fraga, who appointed Hernandez, and Councilman Rafael Pineyro.

  • The council named Frank Rios, the current deputy manager, as interim city manager until Hernandez's successor is appointed.

Catch up fast: The vote followed allegations by Councilwoman Digna Cabral that Hernandez demonstrated a clear conflict of interest and misused city resources for the "personal and political benefit of her husband," Miami-Dade County School Board member Danny Espino.

What they're saying: Hernandez said Wednesday "the allegations described here are not true" and that the county's ethics office signed off on the issues under scrutiny.

  • Fraga offered emotional testimony in support of Hernandez, arguing she didn't "govern on perception" but on facts.
  • "This is unjust and this woman does not deserve this," she said.

Meanwhile: Councilwoman Maureen Porras said the perception of a conflict of interest should be enough.

  • "Considering we are in a difficult time, where there is a lack of trust with city officials, to me it is necessary to not leave the door open for potential conflict."

What we're watching: The council will hear from an independent counsel soon to determine how to best appoint its next city manager.

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