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Mayor calls on council to fire city manager

El Portal’s mayor wants the village manager fired.

By Rodolfo Roman

Special to The Miami Herald

El Portal Mayor Daisy Black this week called for the firing of Village Manager Jason Walker, but the other four Village Council members ignored the suggestion.

Just before the conclusion of Tuesday’s council meeting, Black read a statement calling for the ouster of Walker, who has worked for the northeast Miami-Dade village since 2006.

“I therefore recommend the village terminate the village manager for no confidence for his inability to maintain a work full balanced budget without putting the personal safety and security of his residents at risk,” she said.

Before reading her statement, Black said she had asked Walker for detailed information on the village’s financial condition and projects to include in her yearly state of the village address. Black said she received an e-mail from Walker telling her that the other council members told him he did not have to reply to the mayor’s request.

“This shows that there is a lack of transparency in the village, and obviously they are operating on a need-to-know basis with me, the mayor,” she said.

Council members did not reply to the Black’s recommendation. In order to oust the manager, the council would have to vote.

Walker said he provided the information Black had requested.

“I sent the mayor a copy of all the minutes that the village clerk has provided for the time frames she asked for, which is a copy of what she requested for her state-of-the-village address,” Walker said.

He said he saved the e-mails for proof. He added that he never told her that the Village Council told him not to provide the information, calling it a “misstatement.” Walker provided The Miami Herald with e-mails in which he sent the mayor minutes and offered to help her with the state-of-the-village address.

Resident Florence Chamberlin told the council that they should put their arguments aside and focus on the village’s goals.

“I wonder what can we accomplish if there’s this much animosity, and I sit on many committees,” she said. “There has to be communication and better efforts to work together.”

Walker said Black has been keeping an eye on him at Village Hall.

“The mayor has been here daily or weekly,” he said. “Out of all of the council members that I have a good working relationship with for whatever reason, the mayor is after me.”

Black says she visits Village Hall to hear from residents.

“I am a hands-on Mayor,” she said. “I spend time in the village, because that is what the residents elected me to do.”

Black said she just wants Walker to do his job.

“I think I am doing an exceptional job,” Walker said.

Also at the meeting, the village announced that its fourth of July celebration will be taking place at Horace Mann Middle School, 8950 NW Second Ave., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 2.

In the past, the celebration has taken place at Village Hall. This year, the event will cost $2,500 compared $1,500, which has been the price for hosting it at Village Hall. An extra $1,000 will be needed to pay for police officers. The additional money is coming from some of the council members’ discretionary funds. There will be a bounce house, food, and entertainment. Volunteers are needed. For information, call Village Hall at 305-795-7880.

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