County commissioners get payback from Chair Sosa
The payback is plain as day: Miami-Dade County Commissioners who voted against the installment of Chairwoman Rebecca Sosa were not given important seats — neither on committees nor on the dais.
I’m talking figurative seats on committees and actual seats, for their butts, people.
Two powerful ladies: Miami-Dade Commission Chair Rebeca Sosa and Vice Chair Lynda Bell.
Not only does Sosa decide who serves on what committee — leaving choice positions for her allies — but she also arranges the seating order on the dais.
And guess what? Both Commissioners Xavier Mayor Sir Suarez and Bruno Barreiro — who voted for someone else as their leader — are at opposite ends, as far away from her as she could possibly put them. Well, in Barreiro’s case, Commissioner Barbara Jordan — who had the nerve to run against Sosa for the chair of the board — is the only one past Bruno to the left of Sosa. Suarez is all the way at the end to the right, next to Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin.
Not only does it keep X isolated, next to Monestime and none of his allies, it’s good for traffic flow: Suarez is known to get up and walk in and out a lot during meetings. This allows him to do so with less disruption.
On the other side of that coin is new Commissioner Juan C. Zapata, a former state rep who won the seat vacated by former Chairman Joe Martinez and was the first to nominate Sosa in what Ladra believes was a negotiated deal with the others. Zap gets to sit right next to the chairwoman, on the otherside of the vice chair.
She can also influence the freshman commissioner that way. Sources tell Ladra that there is some benefit to a strategically planned seating chart.
See? She can put allies in positions to influence those who are not and isolate opponents, like some think she may have done with Commissioner Sally Heyman by putting her between Jose “Pepe” Diaz and Esteban “El Bobo” Bovo.
Sosa also sat what some call “the Communists” all together. Commissioners Dennis Moss, Audrey Edmonson and Jordan sit on one wing of the dais, with Barreiro — always a swing vote — in the middle. Exiling Bruno to the Communist wing may be more punishment for his vote. She did put Moss and Jordan, who are allies, on the farthest seats of the wing, putting him next to Edmonson instead in what must be a secret sadistic streak of Sosa’s: Moss was supposed to nominate Edmonson for the chair but reportedly backed out at the last minute. This will make for some interesting chit chat, no?
Positions of leadership are also treated like rewards.
Zap, her left hand man, also gets the juicy chairmanship of the Infrastructure and Capital Improvement Committee, which as the name suggests has a lot of money power, and the vice chairmanship of the Finance Committee, which as the name suggests… you get the picture. Zapata reportedly wanted to chair the Port of Miami committee, but he’ll have to settle for being a member. That chair went to vice chairwoman Lynda Bell, Sosa’s bff on the board.
Another longtime Sosa ally, Commissioner Javier Souto got the chairmanship of the Cultural Affairs committee and was named vice chair of Economic Development and Port of Miami.
Commissioner Esteban “El Bobo” Bovo — who should have got nothing but handcuffs and a ride to DCJ for his role in absentee ballot fraud – got chairmanship of the Finance Committee. Ladra can’t help but wonder what Sosa, who has championed absentee ballot reform, was thinking. Bovo also got vice chairmanship of the Public Safety and Animal Services Committee, which is maybe more where he belongs, except at least this dog is worried. Commissioner Sally Heyman chairs that committee and serves as vice chair on Zap’s Infrastructure and Capital Improvements Committee which meets Tuesdays.
And in a move that could smack a little of racial profiling, Sosa named Commissioners Audrey Edmonson and Jean Monestime as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Health and Social Services Committee.
X and Bruno didn’t get completely shut out. Each got a vice chairmanship. Suarez on the Land Use and Development Committee, where Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz is chair, and Barreiro on the Transportation and Aviation Committee, where Commissioner Dennis Moss is chairman.
Even Jordan got a post she can oversee from the outer reaches of the dais: she is vice chair of the Cultural Affairs and Recreation Committee.
Sosa said she looked at getting each commissioner an opportunity.
“l approached the task by taking into consicleration the input I received from each of you, as well as my goal of creating a more balanced workload for all committees,” she wrote in her memo dated Monday. ”To this end, all Commissioners will have the opportunity to either Chair and/or Vice-Chair a committee, with an average of four to five Commissioners serving per committee.
“Furthermore, as previousiy discussed, one of my goals as Chairwoman will be to conduct County business in the timeliest manner possible, ensuring we respect the members of the public who attend our meetings by starting on time. l am requesting your support on this issue, as I strongly feel it will go far in elevating the community’s perception of our Board,” she wrote, sort of admonishing those who run on Cuban time.
“I am eager to unite forces with you for the betterment of your respective districts and the County as a whole, and I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve as Chairwoman of this Board.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez attached a staff advisor to each committee. Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak has been assigned to the Infrastructure and Capital Improvements as well as the Transportation and Aviation committees. Deputy Mayor Ed Marquez gets Finance while Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt gets Economic Development and Port of Miami as well as Land Use and Development. Deputy Mayor Genaro “Chip” Iglesias gets Public Safety and Animal Services and senior advisor Lisa Martinez gets the Cultural Affairs and Recreation committee, leaving Deputy Mayor Russell Benford to assign to the apparently black Health and Social Services Committee. (More profiling?)
The new board assignments take effect Feb. 1.