Miami-Dade emergency task force still has yet to meet
Vacancies on a task force to help pull Miami-Dade out of economic peril unofficially shrank from eight members to four since last week, according to county records and some responsible for appointments.
Once official, the incoming Covid-19 Economic Recovery Task Force members will give the group quorum. It still hasn’t met, said Ana Bustamante, chief of staff for Commissioner Joe Martinez, whose resolution created the group.
Commissioners April 7 approved the item, which required appointments to the “forum of various entities and organizations with ties to the hospitality, tourism and small business communities” by May 1.
Appointments were to be from each commissioner and the Miami Association of Realtors, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Miami-Dade Chamber, Miami Beach Chamber, Beacon Council, Neighbors and Neighbors Association and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB).
As of May 12, all three chambers, the Miami Association of Realtors and commissioners Esteban Bovo Jr., Dennis Moss, Jose “Pepe” Diaz and Javier Souto had yet to make appointments, Clerk of the Board records showed.
One week later, those vacancies officially dropped by one. Mr. Diaz’s appointment of Dolphin Mall Manager Pete Marrero now appears on the rolls.
New appointments not yet reflected in the rolls include Hialeah Councilman Jesus Tundidor, named by Mr. Bovo; Jennifer Wollmann, chairwoman-elect of the Miami Association of Realtors; and Eric Knowles, Miami-Dade Chamber president.
Danielle Blake, Miami Realtors’ chief of public policy, said her group had twice submitted Ms. Wollmann’s name but had not received confirmation. “Maybe it’s a communication issue,” she said.
Were that an issue, it could be compounded by the existence of several other task forces with the same goal, including some launched by Mayor Carlos Giménez and one by Mr. Bovo focused solely on his district.
Mr. Knowles told Miami Today he’s had virtual meetings “every day at 4 p.m.” to discuss economic recovery strategies and that “the mayor has been the point person.”
“The task force has been going on for a while,” he said. “I’ve been on probably 80% to 90% of the calls across the board on hotels, restaurants, manufacturing, business, small businesses, etcetera.”
After reviewing Mr. Martinez’s resolution and county clerk records Monday, he said of making an appointment, “I’ll get on it today.”
Mr. Moss and Mr. Souto’s offices did not answer numerous requests for comment, nor did the Greater Miami and Miami Beach chambers.
Self-appointed task force members include GMCVB President Bill Talbert, Beacon Council President Michael Finney and Neighbors and Neighbors CEO Leroy Jones.
Others include FalconTrust Air President Alberto Sotero, Joe’s Stone Crab owner Stephen Sawitz, Prospera Regional VP Myrna Sonora, Jackson North Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Chairman Dr. Nelson Adams, family physician Dr. Makandall Saint Eloi, Unite Here Secretary-Treasurer Wendi Walsh, Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council CEO Beatrice Louissaint, Florida East Coast Industries Senior VP Jose Gonzalez, and South Florida AFL-CIO VP Richard Quincoces.
Upon lifting of the local state of emergency, the mayor will have 15 days to appoint a non-voting county employee to staff, advise and assist the task force.