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Dr. Danny Crew out as Miami Gardens city manager

Mayor Oliver Gilbert

Mayor Oliver Gilbert

Dr. Danny Crew out as Miami Gardens city manager

By Derek Joy

     He is the only city manager in the 10 year history of the city of Miami Gardens.

And now, Dr. Danny Crew is gone after nearly 10 years at the helm of Miami Dade County’s third largest municipality.

The Orlando, Fla., native came to Miami Gardens from Gastonia, N. C., as the city’s first city manager in January 2004. He was the second employee of the newly incorporated city, following the hiring of City Clerk Ronetta Taylor.

“I’m not totally retiring,” said Crew, when asked about the mutual decision to step down.  “It’s kind of hard to do nothing.  I’ll continue working on a doctorate in music history and publishing the history of Florida through music.”

Crew’s resignation takes effect Oct. 1.  Assistant City Manager Cameron Benson, who was hired by Crew some six months ago, was appointed interim city manager.

Mayor Oliver Gilbert will present a contract recommendation for Benson to the City Council for approval or rejection.

“I think it was time,” said Gilbert, when asked why the change in city managers.  “Dr. Crew has been here a very long time.  He served the city well. The life span of city managers five years.”

Said Councilman Rodney Harris:  “We’ll miss Crew.  He did a lot for Miami Gardens.  And we expect the new guy (Cameron Benson) is going to do great things.”

Doing was not a problem for Crew, the choice of Miami Gar-dens first Mayor – Shirley Gibson.

“Challenge isn’t the word for what it was like when I came here,” said Crew, while describing what it was like coming to a new city as white in a predominantly Black population.

“I thought it was neat to start a new city.  Very few man-agers get that chance.  When I came here the city was more than $11-million in debt, mostly claims from the county.  They were charging the city for everything.

“We were doing business out of a drawer with a checkbook.  Now, we have a surplus of $11-million.  The police department has been up and running for five years.  The City Hall Building and new Police Headquarters will open within six months.”

Still, Crew acknowledges the reality of crime,  especially the violent crimes that have thrust Miami Gardens into the national spotlight.

According to Crew, who cited the latest crime statistics report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Miami Gardens has a lower crime rate than many other Florida cities.

He listed Aventura, Miami, Hialeah, Miami Beach, Hallandale, Hollywood, Ft. Lauder-dale, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando and other cities with higher crime rates on the FDLE Report.

“Unfortunately, we get a lot of bad press.  Murder is one of those things you can’t do much about.  That usually occurs between family, friends or gangs,” said Crew.

“We got a lot of high profile killings.  People try to extrapolate from that.  This is the best place I have ever lived.  I’m the only white guy in the city but I feel safe.”

So, in the interim, this city of 107,000 residents will see a change in managerial leader-ship for the first time in 10 years. Benson, a Broward County native, who previously was city manager in Hollywood, is expected to be confirmed as city manager at the first Council meeting in October.

Speaking of Benson, Gilbert said:  “I expect him to be the capable administrator of Council policy in building the kind of city our residents deserve.”


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