A new year means the passing of the gavel on the Miami City Commission dais.
On Dec. 31, Mayor Tomás Regalado appointed Commissioner Wifredo "Willy" Gort as the board's chairman. Gort will take over from Marc Sarnoff at the commission's first 2014 meeting Jan. 9.
As vice-chairman, Regalado gave the nod to Keon Hardemon, a brand-new commissioner who was sworn into office in November.
Selecting the leadership is one of the mayor's few commission powers. The chair and vice-chair serve one-year terms.
Gort, who is generally seen as a Regalado ally, was in line for the chairmanship after being number two under Sarnoff.
But choosing Hardemon was a more strategic move for the mayor, who readily admits he had "no relationship" last year with the commissioner's predecessor, Michelle Spence-Jones, who had accused Regalado in court of conspiring against her. A federal judge dismissed the complaint last month.
Hardemon is Spence-Jones’ political protégé.
"Naming Keon vice-chair sends an important message to his district that the administration is willing to work with him," Regalado said. "I think we are going to have a great relationship."