By Stan Morris, City Manager
(Tuesday, December 6, 2022) – As 2022 comes to a close, I want to reflect on our city’s great accomplishments this year and take a moment to thank the heroes behind all of the work: our staff. This year has not always been easy. We faced some roadblocks, trials, and tribulations; but through it all, our city staff stepped up to the plate and always put the city and residents first. Every department played a crucial role in this year’s successes, and I want to share a few of their triumphs.
This year more than any other, we prioritized safety on and off the road, with the Police Department at the helm. The effort kicked into gear when we promoted Captain Edward Santiago to Chief of Police. Through additional promotions and hires, the Police Department added ten officers to enhance their presence and visibility on the streets. They reinstated community policing efforts, established a full-time dedicated patrol for the beach and added specialized traffic enforcement units.
This year we celebrated the City’s 25th Anniversary. The Cultural and Community Services department did a remarkable job making this celebration special for our residents as we commemorated 25 years of growth and progress in Sunny Isles Beach. The department also embarked on the tremendous task of creating a Parks and Recreation Master Plan that will take their services to the next level. We will see new developments this coming year with the addition of new parks and park improvements such as new artificial dog turf and new field lights at Senator Gwen Margolis Park.
Maintaining strong financial security has always been a core undertaking for which the Finance Department excels. The department completed the budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, reducing the city’s millage rate while sustaining the strongest reserves in our history. This year, Finance strengthened our procurement processes while also placing a stronger emphasis on sustainable procurement in alignment with our city’s core values.
The Building department hosted a Condominium Workshop to inform stakeholders of the possible policy, procedural and protocol changes to the building recertification process to ensure our buildings are designed, constructed and maintained in a safe manner. The department has also been working closely with city properties to guarantee the proper maintenance and integrity of our buildings.
It has been a busy year for the City Clerk’s Office as they managed the special elections in January and February, as well as the General Election in November and the upcoming mayoral runoff election this December.
Human Resources developed a strategy for recruiting and retaining talent during one of the most difficult years for hiring great employees. The department also provided support for the successful recruitment of various Police Department hires and created a hiring bonus to attract new talent. Simultaneously, HR oversaw a comprehensive compensation study that resulted in salary adjustments for many deserving employees. The IT department is consistently implementing cybersecurity improvements and making progress on the citywide fiber optic network which will benefit our City and residents greatly.
I am thankful for the hard work and dedication of our employees who always maintain the utmost professionalism and proficiency in their expertise. We have made great strides this year and I look forward to all we will accomplish next year. I wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holidays and New Year.