Don Slesnick, former mayor of the City of Coral Gables, recently received the distinguished honor of being given the “Outstanding Civilian Service Medal.” This award was established by the United States Army to recognize private citizens who have demonstrated extraordinary public service.
General Douglas Fraser, Commander of the United States Southern Command, presented the award during a ceremony in Slesnick’s honor at the Conference Center of the Americas.
“[Slesnick’s] consistent superior leadership within the community of South Florida has been exceptional and reflects his unwavering support of United States Southern Command and all military service members,” Gen. Fraser said. “The medal honors Mr. Slesnick for his tireless contributions to the Team Miami project which worked to save Homestead Air Reserve Base after its destruction by Hurricane Andrew, direct involvement in the Southern Command’s relocation from Panama to South Florida, and superior leadership in the community as a public servant active in numerous civic and business organizations.” Slesnick served as mayor of Coral Gables from 2001 to 2011 and as president of the Florida League of Mayors from 2009 to 2010. He is a Vietnam veteran, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, former U.S. Army advisor to NATO forces in Germany, and currently is an Army Reserve Ambassador for Florida. He is the managing partner for the law offices of Slesnick & Casey LLP and has practiced since 1976 representing public sector employee organizations.
Among other service awards Slesnick has received are the Bill Colson Community Leadership Award from Leadership Miami, American Bar Association Distinguished Service Award, Miami-Dade County Medal of Merit for Leadership, Kiwanis Clubs of South Florida Citizen of the Year Award, and Friend of Foreign Service Medal by the Republic of China (Taiwan).
In 2004, South Florida CEO magazine named Slesnick one of the “Top 101 Global Leaders of South Florida”and, in 2007, he was included in the Sun Post’s list of the “50 Most Influential Persons in South Florida.”
He currently serves as an adjunct professor in the Public Administration Department of Florida International University. Slesnick has served as chair, Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Council; chair, Dade Cultural Alliance; president, Dade Heritage Trust; president, Junior Orange Bowl Committee; president, Rotary Club of Coral Gables; president of the Two Hundred Club of Greater Miami, and president of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.
A resident of Miami-Dade County for almost 60 years, he graduated with honors from Miami Senior High School, received his BA from the University of Virginia, a JD from the University of Florida and a MPA from Florida International University. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1972 and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1985.