MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Mayor Francis Suarez said he supports City Manager Art Noriega’s decision to suspend police Chief Art Acevedo and seek his termination.
During a press conference on Tuesday, the mayor said it was a difficult decision, and it marks the beginning of the end of an unfortunate episode for the city.
Suarez said while it’s clear Acevedo has the qualifications and experience to be an effective police chief, his leadership style was not a “good fit” for the city.
“It is also obvious that his personality and leadership style are incompatible with the structure of our city’s government. The status quo where a top city administrator is at war with the city’s elected leadership is simply untenable, and unsustainable. This dynamic was unforeseeable and while chief Acevedo ended up not being a good fit for our city, I certainly wish him and his family the best of luck in the future,” said Suarez.
Noriega announced the suspension of Acevedo on Monday night “with the intent to terminate his employment.”
According to a statement by Noriega, the relationship between Acevedo and the Miami Police Department has “deteriorated beyond repair.”
“Relationships between employers and employees come down to fit and leadership style and unfortunately, Chief Acevedo is not the right fit for this organization,” Noriega wrote.
WATCH: CBS4’s Jim DeFede Shares His Perspective On Suspension Of Acevedo
In a letter to Acevedo about the suspension, Noriega listed eight reasons why he wanted him gone. Among the reasons listed was that Acevedo has lost the confidence of the rank and file along with executive staff, had an ill-advised interaction with a civilian that resulted in a reprimand, had offended the community by making a “Cuba Mafia state in describing who runs the police department, and his failure to lead the department forward with a “materially deficient” action plan.
Noriega said he will certify to the city’s commission about his decision and the cause of the suspension. The commission will then have five days to render judgment.
“If after a full hearing the Commission determines the charges are well grounded, then the Commission will enter its affirmative judgment, which is final. When the affirmative judgment of the Commission is entered, your suspension immediately becomes a removal but, if the judgment of the Commission is in the negative the suspension ceases and you will be reinstated,” he wrote.
Suarez commended Noriega on listing the reasons for suspension and possible termination.
“Generally speaking, I think a lot of the points, if not all of them are right on point. And I do think that they’re accurate, and I support them,” he said.
When asked if the points rise to the level of termination, Suarez replied, “yes.”
When asked if the commission would vote not to reinstate Noriega, Suarez said he did not want to speculate on the outcome.
Suarez said Acevedo does have the right to plead his case at a hearing.
“My understanding is he’s going to avail himself of that. My understanding also is that that hearing is being scheduled, there was some talk about it being scheduled on Wednesday. The chief, to my understanding, has requested additional time, and based on the legal advice that we received, he will be granted that additional time so it’s very possible that it will be on Friday,” he said.
Suarez said when Acevedo was brought on board, they were excited to have someone of his caliber. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out. He said he hopes this is not a distraction as the city and police department needs to main its focus on the future.
“We can continue to belabor this, continue to drag this out, but really for the benefit of the city, for the benefit of him and his family, for the benefit of our government functioning, and not being distracted from the real work that we have to do, which is to keep homicides down, which is to make sure our streets are safe, and make sure that we are doing everything that we can to differentiate our economy and make it a city where everyone can be successful,” said Suarez.
He added that’s the “trajectory of where I want to be thinking and going.”
Back in April, Mayor Suarez said, “We got the Michael Jordan of police chiefs,” when announcing his hiring.
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