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Miami-Dade County mayor reshuffles top aides


Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez named a new chief of staff late Monday as part of a reshuffling in his office.

Lisa Martinez, who has been the mayor's senior advisor, will take over as chief of staff, Gimenez wrote in a memo to department directors. The position will no longer be a hybrid job as it had been under Deputy Mayor Chip Iglesias, who will continue overseeing his portfolio of county departments.

Iglesias will also be Gimenez's point man on the negotiations with David Beckham's investors over a potential soccer stadium.

Martinez, a one-time elementary schoolteacher who later worked for the school district's intergovernmental affairs and human resources offices, has taken on special projects for Gimenez over the past two years. Most recently, she has been responsible for a task force examining the future of the public library system.

As chief of staff, she will have to navigate the complicated politics of County Hall, including reaching out to county commissioners who have asserted their power and recently rebuffed Gimenez's request to continue requiring a pay concession from public employees.

Her first assignment, according to the memo, will be to organize a a "top down restructuring" of county departments. As a result of the elimination of the pay concession, Gimenez has asked his directors to come up with new savings.

His office will begin by not replacing Ruben Arias, Gimenez's former director of public affairs who is now Commissioner Lynda Bell's chief of staff. The mayor's deputy chief of staff, Alex Ferro, will become director of external affairs, taking on some of Arias' work in intergovernmental relations and constituent services.

And Michael Spring, director of the county's cultural affairs department, will move into an expanded role as Gimenez's senior advisor for cultural affairs and recreation, presumably absorbing some of the projects Martinez had been shepherding.

For now, the changes should save about $50,000 in the mayor's office personnel budget, according to the memo.