Jorge M. Gonzalez has served as the Village Manager of Bal Harbour Village since November 12, 2013. Mr. Gonzalez is responsible for providing executive level leadership, vision and guidance to the organization, providing recommendations to the Village Council and implementing policy directives in an efficient and effective manner – all part of an incredibly diverse and dynamic community.
In September of 2022, Mr. Gonzalez was elected by his peers in the International City and County Management Association (ICMA) as the Vice President of the Southeast Region of the ICMA Executive Board for a three-year term. Mr. Gonzalez was also featured in their Member Spotlight, highlighting his journey in public service and sharing his advice to individuals interested in pursuing a career in local government. The interview for this piece is available for viewing here. ICMA is the professional association of city managers throughout the U.S. and many other countries in the world. The Executive Board acts in the capacity of directors, overseeing the organization’s financial, member-related, and programmatic affairs, and selecting the ICMA president.
Previously, Mr. Gonzalez served as the City Manager of the City of Miami Beach from August 21, 2000 through September 30, 2012, becoming the City’s 19th Manager since its incorporation in 1915, and to date, has been the longest-serving City Manager in the City’s modern era. Miami Beach has a rich history as an entertainment and cultural destination, and during his tenure, Mr. Gonzalez made significant contributions to ensure the City’s position as a world-class destination, while confronting the challenges of managing and servicing approximately 90,000 residents, along with an average daily population of more than 160,000 and over 15 million visitors per year.
As the Chief Executive Officer of a full service urban community, he was responsible for the development and oversight of an operating budget of approximately $400 million, more than 1,700 employees and a Five Year Capital Improvement Plan of more than $1 billion. His twelve-year tenure resulted in the City’s highest bond ratings from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, the City’s lowest tax rates in decades, the City’s highest reserves in history, the City’s lowest crime rates and the City’s highest community satisfaction ratings from residents and businesses.
In 2021, Mr. Gonzalez was nominated and selected to be inducted into the City of Miami Beach Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was established in 2018, to honor legendary people who have made a significant contribution to the City of Miami Beach. Nominees come from all walks of life and have made distinguished achievements across a variety of fields. This significant recognition acknowledges the valuable service that Mr. Gonzalez provided to the City of Miami Beach, through his 12 years as City Manager, as well as through his over 20 years as a resident of the community.
During his twelve-year tenure, Mr. Gonzalez developed and implemented the City’s strategic planning framework, establishing a formal planning process and fostering an organizational culture focused on teamwork, performance measurement, effectiveness and out-of-the box thinking. This focus resulted in the City of Miami Beach’s recognition for a variety of projects and initiatives, including one project selected as the Governor’s Florida Sterling Council 2007 Quality Team Showcase State Champion. That program, the Public Area Cleanliness Program, was created to address community feedback on cleanliness throughout the City, and was recognized as the project that imparted the greatest community impact. The American Planning Association (APA) Gold Coast Section also recognized the value and effectiveness of the City’s strategic planning process in 2007, as they selected our City’s Strategic Planning Process to receive the Award for Excellence for an Outstanding Strategic Planning Project or Study.
Positioning the City as a cultural destination, Mr. Gonzalez successfully negotiated to make the City of Miami Beach the home of Art Basel Miami Beach, the sister event of the world’s most prestigious art show, Art Basel. Planning its eleventh edition, the City hosts the most important art show in the Western Hemisphere, bringing an exclusive selection of more than 250 leading art galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa to exhibit 20th and 21st century artworks by over 2,000 artists. He secured the permanent home for the Miami City Ballet and spearheaded the New World Center, home to the New World Symphony, the Country’s Orchestral Academy, and oversaw the region’s only convention center, which encompasses one million square feet. Mr. Gonzalez was also instrumental in attracting and promoting high-profile special events for the destination, ranging from Super Bowl (2007 and 2010), the Food Network’s South Beach Food & Wine Festival (celebrating its eleventh year), the Latin Grammys, MTV Latin Music Awards, the SOURCE Awards, and the Latin Billboard Awards. As a result, the City of Miami Beach enjoys a reputation as a trend-setting destination.
Leading the City of Miami Beach into a number of exciting joint partnerships, Mr. Gonzalez successfully negotiated and entered into a joint development agreement with the New World Symphony in 2004 to develop a six acre site, consisting of a symphony building, a public garage designed by world-renowned architect Frank O. Gehry, with a total construction value in excess of $200 million, and the spectacular Soundscape park designed by the Dutch firm, West 8.
In addition, City of Miami Beach was in an enviable position with the two top producers of live music, AEG and Live Nation, and a world-renowned brand, Cirque du Soleil, competing to use and manage the Jackie Gleason Theater. In 2007, Mr. Gonzalez successfully negotiated a management agreement with Live Nation, considered the world’s largest producer of live music, which brings the City over $1 million in distributed proceeds in its first full year. Re-branded in its newest reiteration, the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater opened in October 2007.
Beyond demonstrating leadership on behalf of his community and organization, Mr. Gonzalez has assumed pivotal roles on issues that have either a regional and/or a statewide effect. In 2007, when more than 30 bills were filed in the Florida Legislature related to property tax that represented different levels of impacts to the City, Mr. Gonzalez assumed a leadership role in advocating for local governments statewide to ensure that final legislation was fair to cities and counties.
In 2004, Mr. Gonzalez received the first-ever City Manager of the Year Award from the Florida League of Cities. This award was created to honor a city manager in the state of Florida who displays exceptional excellence in the areas of judgment, initiative, integrity, innovation, professionalism, commitment, and citizen relations. The Florida League of Cities presented this award to Mr. Gonzalez in recognition of his commitment to public service, innovative thinking, and results-oriented accomplishments. In 2005 the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce presented Mr. Gonzalez with the Citizen of the Year Award. In 2003, Mr. Gonzalez’ efforts resulted in the City of Miami Beach receiving the “All America City” Award from the National Civic League, the only community in the state of Florida and only one of 10 from around the country, to receive this prestigious, national award. In 2007 the Governor’s Florida Sterling Council awarded the City its Quality Team Showcase State Champion award. In 2009 the United Nations Livable Communities recognized the City with a Gold Award as one of the most livable communities in the world.
Prior to joining the City of Miami Beach, Mr. Gonzalez was the Senior Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for Montgomery County, Maryland, the highest position in the County merit employment system. As Senior Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. Gonzalez was part of the County’s management team and was responsible for the coordination, direction and guidance of all aspects of the organization’s operations, with special focus on technology, budget, personnel and labor/management issues.
From 1995-1999, Mr. Gonzalez was an Assistant County Manager for Arlington County, Virginia. While at Arlington County, he helped to coordinate the functions of a variety of departments, developed the County’s plan and budget to prepare for Y2K, and was the County’s point person on all interactions with Arlington Public Schools. In addition, he served concurrently as acting director of the Human Resources Department for almost two years.
In 1999, Mr. Gonzalez was named by the Washingtonian Magazine among the “100 People to Watch in the New Millennium”. In 2002, Mr. Gonzalez received the Miami-Dade City/County Management Association’s first ever Leadership Award. This award was established to honor individuals who by force or initiative, innovation and perseverance have made an outstanding and significant contribution to the public interest in the area of government performance, leadership, ethics and policy.
From 1990 – 1995, Mr. Gonzalez held a number of positions with Miami-Dade County, including Assistant Director of Administration for the Center for the Fine Arts; Management Consultant with the Audit and Management Services Department; and a Management Trainee with the Office of the County Manager.
Mr. Gonzalez received a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Public Affairs and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Miami. He also is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute and both Leadership Washington, D.C. and Leadership Florida. Mr. Gonzalez is a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), International Hispanic Network (IHN). Mr. Gonzalez is also an Adjunct Professor for the University of Miami.
Mr. Gonzalez has actively participated on the Board of the following organizations: Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Greater Miami and the Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau (Executive Committee), Bass Museum of Art (Executive Board), Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami City Ballet, Adopt A Classroom, ICMA-RC Client Advisory Board, ICMA Task Force on the Future of the Profession, International Hispanic Network, the Miami-Dade City/County Management Association and the Florida City/County Management Association.