Doral on the verge of a governance crisis

MIAMI.- The Doral government is shaken after the dismissal of its administrator, the resignation of the city attorney and the closure of the City Hall office of a member of the School Board, events that the mayor interprets as a political plot to restore the lifetime pensions repealed when he came to power.

Last Wednesday, February 14, the City Council decided by a 3 to 2 vote to close the office of Danny Espino, a member of the School Board, considering him to have benefited from preferential treatment.

Two weeks ago, the same legislative body approved by majority to dismiss administrator Barbie Hernández due to an alleged conflict of interest. Hernández had been appointed by Mayor Christi Fraga, a fact that some members of the Council now interpreted as a favored treatment, since she was the wife of Espino, who replaced Fraga on the School Board.

With the consent of the Council, Fraga authorized Espino, who represents Doral in the school district, to have an office in the City Hall building, as was the case when she was a member of the School Board.

The mayor believes that the change in position of the Council, which at the time approved the appointment of the administrator and the opening of Espino’s office in City Hall, is due to a political plot.

“This is a plot with the objective of restoring the life pensions suspended by us,” said the mayor, and urged Doral voters to make their presence felt in the November elections to avoid returning to the past.

At another point in the meeting, when the Council was discussing how the new city manager would be chosen, Mayor Fraga advocated for her right to appoint a person to the position, subject to Council approval.

However, councilors Digna Cabral and Maureen Porras again saw things from another angle, according to their interpretation of the local statute, in the event of dismissal, it is the Council that appoints the new administrator.

The wayward councilors requested the independent opinion of a law firm that supported their position. “The Council can appoint the new administrator.”

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