County Merges Two Transportation Panels
By Shannon Pettypiece
Miami-Dade’s county manager is shuffling his organization in moves affecting transportation issues, the Performing Arts Center construction and airport expansion.
The county will merge its new Office of Public Transportation Management – in charge of spending revenue from the half-cent sales surtax – with the county’s transit department. The change was approved last week by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners.
"It eliminates two different supporting structures. As two large departments grow, they have their own administrative structure," County Manager George Burgess said Monday. "It improves coordination and communication, and those were some of the problems we were experiencing."
The merger of the Office of Public Transportation Management and Miami-Dade Transit eliminates the position formerly held by 25-year county employee Danny Alvarez, who resigned last week as director of the Office of Public Transportation Management to look for a job in the private sector. It also eliminates the jobs of many temporary administrative employees.
Miami-Dade Transit Director Roosevelt Bradley will pick up Mr. Alvarez’s responsibilities. Mr. Alvarez was the county’s transit director before becoming director of the OPTM.
"Danny’s leadership on transit and transportation issues helped improve our community and its quality of life," Mr. Burgess said in a written statement Friday. "His innovation and hard work have made our transit and transportation systems better and allow us to build on a solid foundation into the future."
Also, Assistant County Manager Bill Johnson will now be the county’s liaison on the Performing Arts Center construction in addition to continuing his responsibilities for the airports and seaports.
Mr. Johnson worked on negotiations for the $250 million American Airlines Arena and on the planning and design of the $370 million Performing Arts Center. In exchange for taking on the Performing Arts Center duties, Mr. Johnson will no longer be in charge of surface transportation.
Transportation Manager Carlos Bonzon, who will be phased out of his job as deputy aviation director, will oversee roadway construction, public transportation and spending of the half-cent sales surtax. His new salary has not been set, Mr. Burgess said Monday.
Mr. Bonzon has been at the aviation department for three years working on a $4.8 billion expansion project at Miami International Airport. He helped plan Metrorail and Metromover in the early 1990s.
Aviation Director Angela Gittens will lead the search for a new deputy aviation director, Mr. Burgess said.
"We have to try to identify those folks with unique talents," Mr. Burgess said Monday, "and place them where they can contribute the most."