During the Florida League of Cities 86th Annual Conference, Sweetwater Mayor Manuel “Manny” Maroño was sworn in as the League’s 91st president by Florida Gov. Rick Scott. In his installation speech, President Maroño announced his platform for the upcoming year. An excerpt of his speech follows.
“. . . Over the course of my term as president of the League, I will be focusing our efforts on reforming local government police and firefighter pensions.
The state has imposed huge expensive and unsustainable unfunded mandates on local governments by requiring cities to provide our friends and constituents who put their lives on the line as police and firefighters, an unprecedented level of pension benefits.
The Legislature has tied our hands and forced cities to raise millage rates or cut essential services by imposing these pension benefit requirements on us.
Like you, I believe in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. Likewise, I believe that police officers and firefighters do a job that many of us would not sign up to do. They deserve the highest level of pension benefits a city can afford to provide them.
It is not the job of the Florida Legislature to set the level of benefits for local government employees. That is called an unfunded mandate and shows complete disregard for the home rule authority granted to cities in Florida’s Constitution.
Gov. Rick Scott is well aware of the position cities are in as a result of the unsustainable pension benefit mandate. He and his staff are committed to try and help make revisions to the law that will remove the handcuffs this mandate imposes on Florida’s cities.
This governor cares about Florida’s cities and has stepped up on our behalf. His attendance at our conferences speaks volumes about how he views the important job you do as local government officials. He is the first governor in at least the past decade that has made time to attend a League conference. We need to remember that as we work on our legislative initiatives for the 2013 session.
I will be working closely with Gov. Scott on reforms to Florida’s local government pension system. But, we cannot do this alone. I ask each of you to get fully engaged on this important issue. If we work together and reach out collectively to the police and firefighter representatives, I know we can save the pension system, have more control of our budgets, and provide these honorable public servants a fair and reasonable pension.
I want to thank everyone here for taking time to attend the conference – hopefully we have all learned a lot of good stuff to take back to our cities.
I also want to thank everyone in advance for taking time to strengthen the League’s advocacy effort. Take time to meet with your local legislators, share your concerns, offer to help them, and when the League lobbyists ask you to call your legislator and tell them how a piece of legislation will affect your city, please call or email your legislator.
I am excited about serving the League as president and equally excited about visiting your local or regional league to see first-hand what great things you are doing for your citizens.
Thank you! I look forward to working together over the coming year.”
Meet the League’s New President
Sweetwater Mayor Manuel “Manny” Maroño, elected to lead the League at its 86th Annual Conference, will serve a one-year presidential term.
Maroño is currently serving his third term as mayor of Sweetwater – the city where he was born and raised. His dedication to public service dates back to 1995, when he was elected as the youngest commissioner in the city’s history at 23 years of age.
Among Maroño's board memberships are past president of the Miami-Dade League of Cities, executive board member of the Beacon Council and founding board member of the Florida League of Mayors. His civic activities range from serving as a key advisor for state legislation on taser guns and underground utilities to establishing sister cities with impoverished areas of Latin America . He is also active in local Little League Baseball, and regularly participates in activities with Sweetwater Elementary and surrounding schools. Maroño resides in Sweetwater with his wife Jennifer and their two sons.