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Mayor names fourth city manager in five weeks

December 23, 1997

MIAMI (AP) _ Only in office five weeks, Mayor Xavier Suarez named his fourth city manager on Monday.

Suarez named Miami Beach City Manager Jose Garcia-Pedrosa to a job that has turned over repeatedly since Suarez was elected in November and promptly fired Edward Marquez.

Marquez’s replacement, Albert Ruder, quit after he refused the mayor’s directive to fire the police chief. Interim manager Frank Rollason served about a week in office and his resignation was requested Monday.

The mayor earned the nickname ``Hurricane Suarez″ when he fired Marquez and demanded the resignations of all city department heads and their assistants.

The mayor’s whirlwind approach to his job caused an uproar that reached a peak when Police Chief Donald Warshaw, who has strong support among many local leaders, refused to step down.

City officials said Monday that Suarez’s efforts to remove Warshaw have cooled.

``We need to lower our voices so that we may all be heard in an atmosphere of respect and thoughtful tranquillity,″ Garcia-Pedrosa said. ``Miami needs to get off the front pages of the newspaper.″

Garcia-Pedrosa pledged to restore Miami’s battered bond rating, which is just below ``investment grade″ and four steps below the coveted A rating with Moody’s Investors Service.

The new city manager indicated he would not be able to take office until after the New Year, a delay that could cause problems as the city attempts to wrap up deadlines on a five-year recovery plan in the next couple of weeks.

Garcia-Pedrosa, a longtime friend of Suarez, has been the top administrator in Miami Beach for 2 1/2 years.

The city switched this year to a ``strong mayor″ form of government that gives Suarez more say over city finances and the hiring and firing of employees, including the city manager.

On Friday, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle cited Suarez for violating the city charter in his firing of administrators and he was placed under the oversight of a judge for six months. He was ordered to rehire administrators who were forced to resign.

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