Apr 3, 2024 - News

Miami Beach appoints interim city manager, launches national search

Interim Miami Beach city manager Rickelle Williams

Rickelle Williams. Photo: Courtesy of City of Miami Beach

After heated debate, Miami Beach commissioners voted Wednesday to launch a national search for a new city manager following the resignation of its top administrator last week.

Why it matters: The city manager is the government's CEO, overseeing day-to-day operations and its public workforce.

  • The resignation of city manager Alina Hudak, who was praised for leading Miami Beach's spring break crackdown last month, is one of several high-level city hall departures this year.
  • There are currently seven department head vacancies in the city, though interim directors have filled some of those roles, a city spokesperson tells Axios.

The latest: Assistant City Manager Rickelle Williams was named interim city manager, effective Thursday.

  • Commissioners gave the city six months to hire a search firm and find qualified candidates.
  • Hudak will remain with the city in an advisory role during a transitional period.

Friction point: Mayor Steven Meiner — who voted against the national search — argued for the internal promotion of Deputy City Manager Eric Carpenter as the permanent manager.

  • He said delaying the hiring of a permanent replacement could "destabilize" the city as it attempts to hire new department heads.
  • "I think the world of Rickelle, but I feel that this is a joke," Meiner said at the meeting.

Yes, but: Three years ago, Meiner voted for a national search that ended in Hudak's hiring as an internal candidate.

  • "What happened to the process? Just throw it out the window," Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez said in a jab at Meiner.
  • Rosen Gonzalez, who was the swing vote in favor of launching a national search, said she wanted the next manager to meet with residents and ideally live in the city.
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