The voters have spoken and Miami- Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez is out. Enter Commissioner Carlos Gimenez. Gimenez has entered the race to be the county’s next mayor – both in the short term, if the commissioners call a special election to fill the seat, and in the long term, when the 2012 countywide election is held.
Gimenez, who has been a vocal critic of Alvarez since being elected to the county board in 2004, said that as mayor he will continue to promote the principles that have been central to his public service career: smaller government and lower taxes.
“I’m a fiscally conservative commissioner and I’ll be a fiscally conservative mayor,” said Gimenez. “I will work to streamline the government and reduce the number of departments. Executive salaries need to be decreased, including my own if I become mayor. It’s important to lead by example.”
Frustrated with the direction of Miami- Dade government, Gimenez said that one of his goals will be to reform the way the county does business and make government more responsive. He supports charter reforms, structural reforms and setting term limits for commissioners.
“I want to restore a government that works for the people, one of responsibility, accountability and transparency,” said Gimenez. “I will listen to the county’s residents and open my door to the entire community, not just to one segment.”
Gimenez added that if voted in as mayor in a special election, the people will have no doubt who is in charge. “I will not delegate power down to the current county manager, as was previously being done,” he said. “In 2012, this will not be an issue as the county manager position will be eliminated.”
Commissioner Gimenez publicly criticized the Marlin Stadium finance deal and voted against the union contracts that included pay raises. “I was the only one who voted against all of the union contracts because I knew that these would result in higher taxes for the people,” he said. “Sure enough, the mayor later came to us and said he had to raise the millage. Our government was in this situation as a direct result of those contracts. I did not support those contracts or the tax increase. As mayor, I will work to reduce the tax burden on our residents.”
During his more than 20 years of public service, Gimenez said that he has been guided by the principles of efficiency and fiscal responsibility. He began his career as a firefighter at age 20, and at age 37 became the youngest ever Miami fire chief. As fire chief, he reorganized and reduced the size of the department, saving taxpayers millions of dollars while increasing the service levels to residents.
His accomplishments as fire chief earned him the position of city manager in 2000. During his tenure in this position, Gimenez restructured city government, restored fiscal stability, lowered taxes and raised the city’s bond rating from junk to investment grade. “All of these are accomplishments that I am very proud of,” he said.
Gimenez attended Christopher Columbus High School in Miami and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Barry University. He married his high school sweetheart, Lourdes, and they have been married for 37 years. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.
For more information on Carlos Gimenez, visit his campaign website at www.gimenezformayor.com.