Sports Authority Head Vows Program Overhaul New Efforts
By Jennifer Miller
The new executive director of the Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority says he will overhaul programs that are in place and create new ones.
"My vision," said James H. Jenkins, a former Walt Disney World executive just hired for the job, "is to reshape and redesign the existing programs and develop new ones for future community involvement.
"I want to develop a tactical plan which will move the arena forward from entertainment to festivals and multicultural events."
"We’re hiring him," said Miami Commissioner Johnny Winton, vice chairman of the authority, "to be the leader of the organization. The new executive director represents the authority’s interests.
"The management company is a third party with a responsibility to carry out missions and objectives established by the board. Our director serves as a primarily liaison and boss to the company."
Mr. Jenkins, who has been working as a contract director of marketing for an Internet firm in Ormond Beach, says he is ready to lead the authority and the arena to its maximum potential. He said he has many plans for arena events, including an ice-skating holiday festival that would resemble Rockefeller Center in New York.
His ideas for multicultural projects stem from his 18 years of marketing with Disney, Mr. Jenkins said. He said he initiated the first Latin Festival and the first Black Music Festival at Pleasure Island.
Orlando, he said, was where he spent most of his life. His last out-of-state job was marketing director for Harris Casino & Resort in Kansas City.
"I have a strong track record in defining artists and events and shaping festivals, which will support and enhance products the management company will be addressing," Mr. Jenkins said. "This is a new beginning for us at the Miami Arena. I’m very confident in the next year you will see some new things happen in the arena that will be very beneficial to all."
An authority subcommittee voted Mr. Jenkins will start at his new post the middle of this month with a $75,000 annual salary. He will reach the $85,000 mark listed as the maximum for the position after one year.
"I’m big on incentives," said Steve Marin, an authority board member and director of operations at Children’s Psychiatric Center Inc., one of three on the sports agency’s board selected to decide Mr. Jenkins’ salary. He proposed adding $5,000 to Mr. Jenkins’ pay every six months until the cap was reached.
Subcommittee members Sam Gentry, executive vice president for Colonial Bank, and Mr. Winton agreed at a meeting last week.
A point of contention for board members was a cell phone allowance.
"I want to be very careful that we set strict guidelines," Mr. Marin said. "I don’t want to go back."
Representatives agreed on $150 a month for a phone, including a personal Internet connection. Other items in the benefit packages, such as health and dental insurance, were left untouched.
At the meeting, board members deferred setting pay for the person Mr. Jenkins is replacing Frances Paez, who has been serving as the authority’s acting director.
"She performed a valuable service for this organization," Mr. Winton said. He said the committee needed time to figure out what her new role would be.
For the next 90 days, Mr. Marin said, Ms. Paez will wear two hats as she helps the committee with next year’s budget and educates Mr. Jenkins on authority matters.