Gables Mayor Jim Cason Aims To Build International Business And City Reserves End Night Parking Fees And Cut Pension Bill
More than 40 years of public service wasn’t enough for Jim Cason.
After serving in the US Foreign Service throughout Latin America and auditing embassy operations in Baghdad and Amman, Mr. Cason decided to once again step into unfamiliar territory — the Coral Gables City Hall.
While some criticized him for being new to the area, Mr. Cason, who has been a resident less than three years, said his experience has prepared him to lead the city.
"The nature of [foreign service] work is that you are always an outsider coming into an organization that’s complex," he said. "You lobby foreign governments. You represent the United States to foreign countries. All of that is relevant to Coral Gables."
While new to the office, Mr. Cason said he is committed to serving the city for only four years.
"I don’t want to be a career politician," he said, adding that he plans to bring employee pay and benefits in line with city revenue, re-establish the area’s reserve fund and re-internationalize Coral Gables in hopes of attracting multinational corporations.
The city’s greatest strength to that end is its human capital, he argues.
"We can’t aspire to having much in the way of warehouse-type businesses," Mr. Cason said. "Ours has to be intellectual capital. We need corporate executives, top-level people that want to run Latin American business."
Mr. Cason sat down in his home to discuss the campaign, his first days in office and the challenges ahead with Miami Today staff writer Zachary Fagenson.