The last city manager had left just as a public corruption investigation was starting. The one before that was fired after a private investigator uncovered visits to a dominatrix website on the manager’s city computer.
So in 2010, with Homestead’s city manager’s office empty yet again, City Council members opted for a national search to find a replacement. It was the first time in recent history that the insular city decided to look outside for help.
They found George Gretsas, a veteran administrator who had most recently run the city of Fort Lauderdale.
He came. He saw. He was shocked.
Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman, records and interviews with city officials indicate, was all but running a parallel branch of government — badgering department heads, midwifing cut-rate land deals with campaign donors and business partners, interfering with hiring and firing. This, in a city where a professional manager is supposed to call the shots.