County Manager Becoming Miamidades Chief Financial Officer
By Paola Iuspa
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County Manager Steve Shiver is adding chief financial officer to his job description, assuming part of the job former assistant manager George Burgess vacated.
Mr. Shiver said he won’t hire an assistant manager to replace Mr. Burgess, who resigned Sept. 6 to become chief financial officer for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
With a degree in finance, Mr. Shiver said he will now directly plan the county’s nearly $5.2 billion budget and work with heads of departments such as finance and management. He also plans to continue Mr. Burgess’ role in developing an incorporation and annexation policy for areas seeking to become cities.
Mr. Shiver said working closely with Mr. Burgess and David Morris, director of the Office of Management and Budget, to plan this year’s budget will help him understand county finances.
"I am a hands-on kind of a person," said Mr. Shiver, hired as manager in January 2001.
Mayor of Homestead from 1997 until joining the county, Mr. Shiver has experience in real estate, construction and security, according to the county’s web site.
Mr. Burgess’ other tasks have been split among eight remaining assistants.
Bill Johnson, the assistant manager who supervises the Port of Miami and aviation department, is now in charge of overseeing procurement and the department of business management, which certifies small and minority-owned firms wanting to do business with the county, he said.
By not filling Mr. Burgess’ post, the manager’s office, which runs on a $4.7 million budget, will save about $300,000 a year, Mr. Morris said.
Mr. Morris, who has worked in the budget office more than 20 years, will report to Mr. Shiver.
After being promoted to assistant manager in 1998, Mr. Burgess evolved into chief financial officer, said Tom David, another assistant manager. "The CFO model was unique to George."
Pinellas County Administrator Steve Spratt, a former Miami-Dade budget director and assistant manager until last December, said the chief financial officer’s job requires understanding, detail and patience.
"There are many details in a $5 billion budget," he said. Mr. Burgess "had an impressive ability to look behind the numbers. To be a good financial officer, you have to be able to understand what the numbers are telling you."
Mr. David said the assistant managers’ duties may change again after commissioners create committees and develop an agenda. The committees are to prioritize issues related to transportation, housing, environment, cultural affairs and economic development.
As Mr. Shiver plans to get more involved in next year’s budgeting, so do commissioners.
A referendum passed in September amended the county charter to bring commissioners into budgeting. Before, the mayor and manager proposed a budget while commissioners were limited to approving, rejecting or amending the plan.
"Under the charter amendment, the manager will still submit the budget," Mr. Morris said, "but we will get more input from the mayor and the commission before the budget is submitted."