The economic development director for the City of Miami has stepped down.
City administrators announced Monday that Brian Barger, a three and a half year employee of the City of Miami, resigned from his director's position to pursue other business ventures and spend time with his father.
It was the right time to make this decision, Barger wrote in a statement released Monday. I had a very open discussion with Huey (Long) about my decision and we agreed that it was a good time for all parties.
City Manager Huey P. Long said Monday that Barger, who emptied his office on Thursday, will remain as a consultant for the City of Miami through the next 90 days and will receive full pay through Jan. 15.
Barger is credited with bringing the city through a series of growth spurts to include the introduction of a three new hotels a movie theatre and a host of grant projects that helped to boost business efforts of small businesses.
Long said there is currently no plan to name a new economic development director as the city administration will spend the next few months discussing the future direction of the department.
In the interim, Long will take the helm of economic development - flanked by assistant city manager Tim Wilson and the city's grant coordinator Larry Eller.
The city manager clarified that the added responsibility will not result in a boost in salary for him.
We will absorb the economic development director's responsibilities a cost-savings for the city, Long said.
The city manager, who joined the staff less than two months ago, said city administration and staff will continue to monitor the economic environment through the remainder of the fiscal year as the nation limps through a historic downturn.
We will have a better idea by June 30 of what we are going to do, Long said.
Long said the internal change brings opportunity for the city to look at ways to bring like-minded groups and agencies together with regard to economic development.
How do we develop a winning strategy to bring jobs to the region without duplicating efforts? - That is the question, Long said. At the end of the day, when you look at tourism, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the chamber of commerce, Miami Area Economic Development Service, the mayor and council, we all desire the same thing and have the same goals in mind.
Long said advocates of city growth, despite history of fractured economic development efforts, are asking themselves the same questions - How does the City of Miami and the county raise income levels, bring more jobs and secure a community that will encourage future generations to raise their families here?