Manager lays off entire Village Code Enforcement Department except for one

Photo by Raquel Garcia / Islander News

As of the morning of June 12, the landscape in the Code Enforcement Office of the Village of Key Biscayne has changed considerably.

The staff has been reduced from four full time employees to one.

Chief code compliance officer Michael Mila, code compliance officer Alexander Posada, and code compliance officer Marilyn Victores, have been laid off according to village manager Andrea Agha.

They are currently on paid administrative leave until the village council determines the appropriate severance package in compliance with the general employees union; the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA).

“We don’t take lay-offs lightly,” said Agha.

“We are custodians of the public funds and we need to manage them responsibly, this was a business decision that had nothing to do with performance.”

The manager said that over the years the staff grew, at times when budgets were more robust, to increased hiring when actually the standard that determines the staff comparable to the density and miles of Key Biscayne was incongruent.

“We got to a point where we were overstaffed and we need to be fiscally responsible.”

“With the boundary of the village and the density for the number of officers, we had 2.4 per square mile where comparatively the average was .4 or .8. We analyzed it by code enforcement benchmarks considering the cost of operations and the volume of work.”

The sole department staff to maintain her position is Graciela Miguel.

Agha said she was the most senior staff and of late worked in the capacity as executive assistant to the chief compliance officer, and handled office business such as kiteboarding regulations. It is anticipated that her daily responsibilities will shift to field work.

“The business inspections (work) had been directed to stay in the office and this didn’t make sense to me; the work is in the field.”

Public works director Jake Ozyman will now be overseeing Building, Zoning, and Planning (BZP) and Public Works. Agha will meet with human resources and Mila, Posada, and Victores this week to determine their severance package.

Agha said the result in village savings is $170,000 annually.

“To date we call out our (overall) functional savings at $338,977.67.”

Those savings include restructuring done to date from the village manager’s office, code enforcement, and building, zoning and planning.

Next departments that are up for review are Parks and Recreation, the fire department, and police.

Agha said all village staff has been made aware these restructuring changes would be forthcoming as they are following a mandate from the Village Council to analyze and improve operational efficiencies.

“We will be looking at parks next and interim solutions that will preserve services, because we don’t want to degrade the level of service. Current vacancies in parks are not going to be filled in fiscal 2020.”

The manager said that if there is an uptick in demand for code enforcement assignments, they have two companies recently approved to contract out by the village that will be contacted.

“This is a very common practice to call upon (those approved for possible future outsourcing needs) those folks to augment demand as needed for the ebb and flow of services.”

“Our inspections services contract was approved in the June meeting and awarded to two companies: MT Causley, Inc. and C.A.P. Government, Inc.”

When asked about residents that might be concerned their questions and inquiries regarding village code relations and enforcement might be detrimentally affected, Agha said not at all.

“Our goals is to preserve the level of service. We have high expectations for customer service and it is my personal commitment for anyone concerned that we maintain a healthy and open relationship.

If anyone for any reason is uncomfortable or unhappy they can come and see me, call me, or email and I will address any concerns.”