Coral Gables’ Frank Fernandez is out — but still getting paid

Coral Gables’ Frank Fernandez is out — but still getting paid
  • Sumo

After three tough and tumble years at the City Beautiful, Coral Gables Assistant City Manager Frank Fernandez is finally on his way out — four months from now.

Fernandez will keep getting his $188,000 annual salary and keep reaping his benefits through April, getting paid to basically sit at home and look for a new job. It amounts to a 20-week severance.

Just in time for the election. Ladra smells a campaign issue.

A “cooperation and transition agreement” signed Monday says he is no longer in charge of anything or anyone but must remain available by phone or email through April 19 should City Manager Peter Iglesias need him for something or other.

Read related: Frank Fernandez and Peter Iglesias stay in Coral Gables — for now

It ends sooner if Fernandez (right) finds a job before that. But c’mon, who wouldn’t make their start date April 20 under these circumstances?

Another good question: What mutual “best interest” is there on this good, green Earth for the city — and this means you, dear taxpayers — to pay Frank Fernandez six figures to stay home and look for a new job?

Iglesias did not immediately return several calls and an email asking to explain why he would ever need Fernandez, who has been a thorn in the side of the police and fire supervisors since he was hired in June of 2015.

But Ladra knows that he took police and fire away from Fernandez as soon as he was made interim manager in September. He had both the police chief and fire chief report to him since and he returned the emergency management department to the fire chief’s purview.

Former City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark brought Fernandez with her from Hollywood and made him public safety director, causing an already strained relationship between herself and the police chief to become toxic and eventually force her resignation in September. Some insiders say it was the Fernandez factor and her stalwart refusal to let him go that led to Swanson-Rivenbark’s abrupt separation from the city. She took a bullet for him, in other words. Sources also say that Fernandez begged to keep his position and that this was the compromise.

Read related: Coral Gables City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark quits job in battle with chief

But if Iglesias can’t do the job without having Fernandez at home at his beck and call, then commissioners need to reconsider having him in that position permanently.

Because it does not take a talented genius to realize that it is not at all in the mutual “best interest” for Fernandez to keep accruing sick time and personal and vacation time and keep getting benefits through these next four months.

Ladra asked how the exit packages compare, and because he hasn’t worked for the city five years yet, Fernandez is not vested, said city spokeswoman Maria Rosa Higgins Fallon. Still, he can accrue more annual and sick leave — some top officials get up to 15 or 20 hours a month — and the city will continue to contribute to his 401K plan, according to the agreement.

Read related: Coral Gables cover up on police ‘spy’ protects managers

Ladra was not able to immediately get those exact figures to compare his payout in April to a payout this week, but there is no reason to believe it wouldn’t be significantly higher.

And still he felt the need to stiff one of his underlings with the $174 bill for the going away party he threw for himself and 14 of his closest friends at the police station Friday.

Fernandez will have to turn over his city vehicle, his city-issued weapon(s), his taser gun and any other city-owned equipment by 5 p.m. this Friday.

Except his ipad. He gets to keep the city-issued ipad and a city email through April 19.

What is it that Frank Fernandez has over the city that the city can’t seem to get over him?

Ladra sent an email to the mayor and every commissioner, asking if they were okay with this. She did not get one answer.

10 Responses to "Coral Gables’ Frank Fernandez is out — but still getting paid"

  1. el pipon   December 5, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    funny how the city did not have to pay fernandez a cent to go away but they did anyway. hmmmm. wonder what frankie had on our lovely chief. oye ladra- deja la chusmeria quit being hudaks do girl and dig into his dirty closet. hay bastante basura para sacar. there is a reason why he wanted fernandez gone since the day he got here. cops hate hudak and we told fernandez enough to make hudak nervous. fernandez has the integrity the city and hudak dont. fernandez never got into trouble and crime went down while he was here but hudak was almost fired twice. dime tu quien es el sucio? y no pierdas tiempo con clueless iglesias. he did the mayors and hudaks dirty work. pontes las pilas!!!!!!!!

  2. Jack Eads   December 6, 2018 at 1:13 am

    Miss me yet?

  3. Miami?   December 6, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Wasn’t Frank Fernandez in the City of Miami system? Didn’t he have problems in Miami?

  4. Jackson Rip Holmes   December 6, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Between The Miami Herald’s Jeffrey Epstein series, and Political Cortadito’s Heroism, isn’t it safe to say our community is BLESSED with incredibly great journalism?!

  5. Jack Frost   December 6, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Coral Gables is a dirty toilet and Hudak and Valdes Fauli are the biggest turds in it. Fernandez is too clean and a straight shooter for this dump. Word is he has the goods to bring down Hudak and embarrass the city. The commission and the new city manager know he could sue and win so they settled. Sad how this place goes through leaders. How many settlement agreements have we paid for the past 20 years?

  6. Jack Thompson   December 6, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    The above posts claiming there is dirt on Hudak are actionable libel and I encourage Chief to find out who posted them. Jack Thompson

  7. Tony and Dawn   December 6, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    …if you drive the Gables, you have seen the sign boards ” police activity “. If you read the news about the Gables, you know what that means. Maybe the city manager doesn’t consider this officer’s boots on the ground, superfluous!

  8. Maria C Cruz   December 6, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    It is obvious to me that some of these comments come from people that either can not back up what they are saying with facts or are missing some part or parts of the body and are afraid to identify themselves. Please grow up and own your comments.
    As to how much the police officers liked Fernandez, Isn’t it unbelievable that the going away party that he organized for himself, and got one of the people he supervised to pay for!!, had only 14 attendees? Yes, only 14 people, including the honoree! Wow, something to be said!
    If Mr Fernández did such a wonderful job, here and in the City of Miami, how come the only person who hired him was Ms Swanson? Has anyone kept track of how many local Police Chief
    positions have been filled in the recent years, including the one in Miami? How come he hasn’t been chosen? What am I missing? Will he have to wait for Ms Swanson to get a City Manager’s job someplace else to get another job? I guess time will tell. Keep tuned.

  9. The Truth   December 11, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Maria C. Cruz good old Frank Fernandez will coast on until his severance pay is completed. But in reality, he will do what he and others who are top administrators do best, which is reach out to their political connections to get his next gig. They tend to have politicians and lobbyist secure their next job and in turn contracts are handed down to them as pay back. In Frank’s case, he has probably made a phone to his good friend Manny Diaz already.

    By the way, there another person at the Gables by the name of DIana Gomez who is also from the City of Miami. She was part of the SEC investigation. At the Gables, she oversees Finance and Purchasing. She is connected to Manny Diaz and several lobbyists. She is unethical and corrupted.

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