Miramar, Fla. – Miramar City Manager Roy Virgin has been in office for more than a month and is making good progress so far, according to the city council.
Virgin was appointed interim city manager on May 4, replacing Whittingham Gordon who was made redundant after just six months on the job.
Miramar city commissioners gave Virgin the job permanently this month.
The commissioners were unimpressed with Gordon’s performance during his brief tenure as city manager and decided to dismiss him at his half-yearly evaluation. Gordon worked for the city for 27 years.
Virgin, who previously served as the city’s deputy director for operations and infrastructure services, director of the utilities lab and director of the utilities department, said he knew his performance had to be exceptional for him to outlasts his predecessor, starting with creating plans to achieve city goals and building a good relationship with the 1,150 employees he oversees.
“Our employees are our most valuable asset and therefore my goal is to create an effective city government that attracts, develops and retains high performing employees who will share the city’s vision and provide the best possible service to our commission and to our residents,” Virgin told the South Florida Times.
“We will promote a balanced, prosperous and inclusive city that fosters, attracts and retains businesses.
One of the city’s top priorities is to address the impact of the statewide affordable housing crisis in Miramar.
Virgin, which earns an annual salary of $270,000 and oversees an annual operating budget of $282,463,627, said its staff are on track to help the city meet its goal.
“We will continue to partner with developers to provide affordable housing for our residents.”
The Jamaican resident of Davie has experience managing multi-million dollar capital improvement projects. In his previous position, operational oversight of Virgin included three major projects: the East Water Treatment Plant upgrade, the construction of the Miramar Historic Infrastructure Upgrade Phased Project and the expansion of the reclaimed water project, at a cost of $32 million, $22 million and $7 million, respectively.
Virgin said balanced budgets and achieving a surplus keep Miramar in good financial shape. “We ensure the long-term financial stability of the city through proper budgeting.”
Managing a city that encompasses 31 square miles with a population of 134,721 places Virgin among the most powerful unelected municipal leaders in Broward County. He attributes his rise to the top to his educational roots. Virgin earned her bachelor’s degree in public administration and her master’s degree in public health from Florida International University, and her doctorate in health sciences from Nova Southeastern University.
Although Mayor Wayne Messam did not approve of Gordon’s firing, he said his relationship with Virgin dated back to when he was a board member of the General Employees Union.
“His professional and academic development as well as his tenure as Utility Lab Manager, Utility Department Manager and Deputy City Manager give him unique experience and perspective as a City Manager,” Messam said.
“I will be working closely with Dr Virgin as he needs to adapt quickly to his new leadership role. I believe he has the ability to serve well and will give him the opportunity to be the best city manager he has ever had. it may be on behalf of our residents, a vibrant business community and our staff.”
Vice Mayor Yvette Colbourne said the appointment of one of “our long-time employees” allows the city to beneﬁt from Virgin’s corporate knowledge.
“Dr. Virgin’s education, qualifications and experience will serve the city well,” Colbourne said. “His ability to communicate with employees will no doubt increase employee morale. I look forward to working with Mr. Virgin in his role as City Manager, to move our city forward, to the beneﬁt of our employees, residents and businesses. ”
Commissioner Maxwell B. Chambers said he was confident in Virgin’s ability to lead the city.
“We are thrilled to see how his accomplishments, visions and leadership will improve our great city of Miramar,” Chambers said. “Over the years, Dr Virgin has earned the trust and respect of his colleagues, so I am confident he will be successful in his new position.”
Commissioner Alexandra Davis expressed similar sentiments.
“I have known Dr. Virgin for many years,” Davis said. “I’ve seen Dr Virgin grow, in terms of leadership, and I’m confident he has the temperament, drive and style to take us into the future.”