Miamidade Mayor Scraps Plan To Control Procurement
Written by Dan Dolan on February 8, 2007
By Dan Dolan
Fresh from winning broad executive powers in a special election last month, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez said Monday that he is scrapping his controversial proposal to assume control of contracts and purchasing decisions from the county commission.
Mr. Alvarez said his 2-year-old plan to let the county’s professional managers OK contracts gives too much clout to the chief executive now that the mayor has authority to hire and fire department heads.
"With the new change in government, controlling procurement would put too much power in the hands of one individual," said Mr. Alvarez, who pushed purchasing changes as part of a reform initiative that persuaded voters to give the mayor control over the county’s day-to-day operations.
But Mr. Alvarez said he still wants to streamline purchasing so projects can get under way sooner and cost less. He has suggested standardizing the county’s procurement documents to ease paper flow. Where possible, he also wants to use government employees instead of outside consultants on large-scale construction projects. This would save time and money, he said.
"Our system is a very cumbersome and lengthy process," Mr. Alvarez said. "I’m going to work with the department heads and the commission to make it better."
The mayor said county government will never run with the efficiency of a private enterprise. It can’t and shouldn’t, he said.
"A public organization is not in the business of making money," Mr. Alvarez said. "The bottom line with government is delivery of service, not profit. There are some services, like the transit system, that are essential but will never be profitable. What we have to strive for is to provide the best service possible at the lowest cost."