Rafael Casals, who was appointed interim town manager after the departure of Steven J. Alexander in June 2012, was formally named the new permanent town manager of Cutler Bay on Monday, Apr. 8.
After a search that resulted in 62 candidates applying for the position, the field was narrowed to a top 10 list of qualified prospects by an advisory group of former city managers known as the “range riders,” and then a group of three finalists. At a special council meeting held at 3 p.m., the members of the council voted unanimously to select Casals for the job.
“I have the distinct honor and privilege to have been appointed town manager, during yesterday’s special town council meeting,” Casals said the day after the vote. “As one of the original department heads, hired in October of 2006, as the town’s Public Works director, I have an excellent working knowledge of our community’s vision and challenges. During my tenure as Public Works director, I coordinated and hosted several community outreach/involvement meetings and developed a great relationship with the community. Our current staff is comprised of experienced and dedicated professionals, who will continue to serve our community proudly.”
Mayor Ed MacDougall said on Apr. 9 that the selection process brought a lot of good people to their attention, but that Casals’ demonstrated abilities and interaction with everyone made the difference.
“We went very thoroughly through all of the candidates and even though there were a couple of candidates who seemed to fit the requirements, there would always be uncertainty as to their personalities,”MacDougall said. “What we all agreed on is that Ralph is not only very capable but he has an ingredient which is extremely important to us. He is very close with the residents, he has always taken time to reach out and make sure that if they had questions they were answered. That was something that was extremely important to all of us.”
MacDougall said that almost every day he receives a call or email from someone regarding a problem and that after notifying the manager the problem is usually taken care of before the end of the day.
“The entire council had very high praise for the manager, and thanked Sue Loyzelle for her efforts in making sure that we had a system in place that we could use to weigh the different options as managers,” Mayor MacDougall said. “But at the end of the day the experience that we’ve already been able to witness with the interim manager, and now manager, Ralph Casals, was the overriding factor of our unanimous support.”
Casals had previously served as the town’s Public Works director, but had prior management experience, having served as the assistant town manager of Miami Lakes, city manager of North Bay Village and assistant city manager of Florida City, as well as other municipal government positions. He attended Homestead Senior High School, Miami-Dade Community College and Florida Atlantic University, and has degrees in Business Administration and Business Management.
“I will continue to be very accessible to all residents and take personal pride in returning all phone calls and/or emails,” Casals said. “I feel that one of the most important functions within the town manager’s office is an open line of communication with both the residents and business community. The town council has a clear vision for the town and I will continue to work closely with each council member, to fulfill their goals.”