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Sharply divided Miami commission fires Police Chief Miguel Exposito with 3-2 vote

Miami city commissioners fired Police Chief Miguel Exposito Monday, bringing to an end more than a year of acrimony between the defiant chief and Mayor Tomás Regalado.

The commission, in a 3-2 vote, upheld a decision by City Manager Johnny Martinez, who suspended Exposito last week for insubordination for circumventing an order not to demote three high-ranking police officers and ignoring direction to come up with a plan to reduce overtime spending.

The termination concluded days of high drama at Miami’s historic City Hall. A hearing to decide the chief’s fate began at 9 a.m. Friday. It ended at 2 a.m. Saturday — with no decision. Commissioners met again at 9 a.m. Monday to hear final arguments on both sides and finally take a vote.

After deliberating for more than four hours, Commissioners Wifredo "Willy" Gort, Francis Suarez and Michelle Spence-Jones voted to fire the chief. Commissioner Frank Carollo and Marc Sarnoff cast votes against. More here soon.

Read a statement from Regalado after the jump.

"I am grateful to the City Commission for its support of the City Manager. Today, we turn the page and leave this ordeal behind us. This has been a painful process for the City, but at the same time has demonstrated that our city demands that its employees respect their superiors and follow the Charter.

 As responsible officials we have a duty to prevent this unfortunate event to happen again. The authority of the City Manager over the heads of departments should be clear and unquestionable. He is in fact the ultimate responsible for their performance.

The first step to straighten and strengthen the efficiency and accountability in the administration is reforming the process for the removal of department heads. We have to turn this ordeal into a positive experience for the best of our City.

But, now we have a priority:  the budget. In just two days we have its first reading and a deadline by September 30.

Therefore, as soon as we finalize our budget, I will present charter reform options to the Commission to insure that our City never again has to endure a process like this which has cost time and resources to the city and has negatively affected the morale of our employees and the residents in general."