Leadership in the Town of Miami Lakes Building Department will be shared by two staffers promoted to the positions Thursday after the top two officials resigned.
Danny Angel is the new director of the building department, and will oversee administration and operations, including building, zoning and code enforcement, Town Manager Edward Pidermann said in a June 17th email to the town council and staff.
Angel was formerly the director of parks and recreation. A town employee since 2007, he has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and has experience in code enforcement, Pidermann said.
Angel Rivas is the new building official. He will have final authority on building code approvals, plan reviews and inspections.
Rivas was formerly the town’s chief building inspector.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering; is a general and roofing contractor; a certified building official and has worked for the town since 2018.
“This is a model used in many South Florida governments and we believe that this will be the best structure for our town moving forward,” Pidermann said.
He also announced a third promotion: Jeremy Bajdaun, from special projects manager in the parks and recreation department to its director.
Bajdaun, whose degree is in sports management, has worked for the town since 2015. He will lead the department at an exciting time, as plans for development of Miami Lakes Optimist Park move forward.
Building Official Mike Mesa and Building Department Manager Lourdes Rodriguez resigned their positions on June 11th.
Pidermann said the pair were “instrumental in leading the best building department in South Florida. The example they set for staff was second to none.”
The Villages of Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay were two municipalities that have consulted with Miami Lakes’ building department about how to do things, Pidermann said.
Mesa said he was leaving for a job with another municipality and his last day will be June 25th. Pidermann hired him in 2020, for an annual salary of $139,049.
Rodriguez was on the job since 2011 and she earned $95,373. She said her final day working for the town will be July 1st.
“This was not an easy decision to make but current circumstances have swayed me,” she wrote in her resignation letter, without elaborating on what those circumstances may have been.
Neither Mesa nor Rodriguez could be reached for comment; both said in their resignation letters that their decisions were not easy ones.
During a March 9th council meeting that stretched past midnight, members approved the formation of an ad hoc committee of building trade professionals to study the town’s building department and make recommendations.
The committee members are: Eric Trillas and Luis Senra, who are both engineers; Carlos Fernandez Guzman, a banker; Ricardo Gonzalez, a fire plans examiner and German Cure, a Town of Miami Lakes employee who is an engineer and oversees internet technology and strategic planning.
The committee has four more meetings planned and expects to file a report to the town on July 29th.
When the town council approved its formation, Vice Mayor Luis Collazo and Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano voted against it.
Ruano said based on her review of residents’ complaints, she found the department acted correctly in most cases.
Collazo said having the committee oversee the department was “going to overly politicize the issue” and that the committee would undermine the authority of both Pidermann and Mesa.
“Our building official is in a tough spot,” Collazo said. “Because 90% of the calls they’re getting, they’re just trying to enforce the code that we’ve kind of created for them.”
Pidermann said after the three staff promotions, there will be more appointments to come and he hopes to announce them next week.