Interview with Mayor Maurice Ferre

I'm going to stop you because we won't go into today, I mean, but what I would like to do is follow up and say when a riot is happening in the city or in Miami, how does Miami's particular form of government either function or fail to function in that environment?


Well I think you have to understand, ah, in, in analyzing what occurred here, ah, in 1980 and, ah, since. That, that, ah, we have a, ah, a government, ah, a Rube Goldberg type of a government here. It is not the traditional American government, ah, wherein, ah, you have a chief executive who's elected and he's, he's the mayor and chief executive. The chief, the, the mayor here is not chief executive, he's the chairman of the board of, ah, of a board of commissioners. And, ah, therefore it's a part-time job. In both the City of Miami and Metro everybody's elected at large so there's no specific area representation. Those are two major differences. The third is that the chief executive who in this case is a county manager or city manager appointed, ah, has no veto power. So therefore he's a weak executive. As a consequence of, of all of this, ah, ah, we have a situation that is not good for crisis confrontation. Now, the other thing that's, that's important in understanding in this community is that there has not been any consolidation. Now in, in most major American cities, whether it's New York City which, the consolidation happened at the turn of the century, or Chicago, or, any major American city, ah, consolidation has occurred. Here the reverse has occurred. In other words, the City of Miami's given up its departments. It gave up the seaport, the airport, the water and sewer system, ah, etc. The hospitals. Those are all city functions that were given up to metropolitan Dade County with the idea of the creation of a regional government which was created 33 years ago called Metro. Now, the problem is that that regional government, Metro, ah, serves both in ci- as a city government for half of this community. In other words, almost a million people. And then it serves, ah, as a regional government for 2 mil- almost 2 million people. And there's a conflict between those two, two services that are being rendered. And then there are 26 municipalities here, of which the City of Miami's the largest, which in effect, in the municipal area conflicts with Metro because there's a rivalry.