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Office of the City Manager – Christopher J. Russo

In October 2012, Mr. Russo returned as our City Manager after leaving in 2005 to form his own professional management firm serving government and private sector clients in Florida and New York.

The duties of the City Manager of Sunny Isles Beach, as outlined in the City Charter, are re-stated here:

  • Be responsible for the appointment, supervision and removal of all City employees except for the Office of the City Attorney and his/her staff;
  • Direct and supervise the administration of all departments and offices but not City boards or agencies, unless so directed by the Commission from time to time;
  • Attend all Commission meetings and have the right to take part in discussion but not the right to vote;
  • Ensure that all laws, provisions of this Charter and acts of the Commission, subject to enforcement and/or administration by him/her or by officers subject to his/her direction and supervision, are faithfully executed;
  • Prepare and submit to the Commission a proposed annual budget and capital program;
  • Submit to the Commission and make available to the public an annual report on the finances and administrative activities of the City as of the end of each fiscal year;
  • Prepare such other reports as the Commission may require concerning the operations of City departments, offices, boards, and agencies;
  • Keep the Commission fully advised as to the financial conditions and future needs of the City and make such recommendations to the Commission concerning the affairs of the City as s/he deems to be in the best interest of the City;
  • Perform such other duties as are specified in this  Charter or as may be required by the Commission.

During his seven-year absence from the City, Mr. Russo served, under contract as the Town Administrator of Southwest Ranches, Florida; and most recently, as the Village Manager of Port Chester,  New York.  During his first stint as Sunny Isles Beach City Manager from 2000 through 2005, Mr. Russo is credited with restructuring this fledgling government and developing the first long-term Capital Plan, creating a comprehensive personnel policies and procedure manual, and the first market-driven compensation plan.

He also was charged by the City Commission to implement the City’s Comprehensive Plan, and the development and construction of the Government Center which houses not only City departments, but a branch of the Miami-Dade County library and the U.S. Post Office.

Professional Background

Mr. Russo began his career in public service as an Assistant to the Manager in Scarsdale, NY, where he gained a solid foundation in managing municipal government operations.  At Scarsdale, Mr. Russo’s responsibilities covered the full spectrum of public safety, public works, recreation, finance, planning, and budgeting.

Mr. Russo’s career advanced significantly when he became the first Village Administrator for the Village of Rye Brook, NY. This position was three-fold and included the duties and responsibilities of the Village Clerk as well as the Budget Officer. As Administrator, his responsibilities included administering all government services including personnel, police, fire, public works, parks and recreation; the acquisition of public land; labor contract negotiation and dispute resolution;  and planning for economic development.  His duties as Village Clerk included conducting  Village elections and records management.  As Budget Officer, he was responsible for the entire budget process.

Consulting and Advisory Roles

Mr. Russo has assisted local governments in New York, Maryland, New Jersey and Florida in developing and bolstering the delivery of local government services. He has conducted executive searches for local governments and has presented at more than 30 conferences and group meetings on topics such as “Innovations in Local Government”, “Public/Private partnerships”, “Economic Development Incentives”, and “Leadership in Adversity.”

Mr. Russo has served in a leadership capacity or as a member of many municipal organizations.  These include the Florida City County Management Association; International City/County Management Association; Municipal Administrators Association of Westchester County, NY;  New York State Municipal Management Association; and the American Society for Public Administration.  He was also an Executive Board Member of the New York State Conference of Mayors, and the Chairman of the Long Island Sound Task Force’s Subcommittee on Point Source Pollution.

Christopher J. Russo graduated from Pace University in New York, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration degrees.  He is also a graduate of Salesian High School in New Rochelle, New York.