Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez has dedicated his life to public service. At the age of 20 he began his career as a firefighter with the City of Miami, working his way up the ranks to become the youngest Fire Chief in the history of the department and the first Hispanic to hold that title. His leadership at the Fire Department earned him the position of City Manager at a time when the City of Miami was facing the worst fiscal crisis in its history. Guided by the principles of efficiency and fiscal responsibility, Carlos was able to reduce bureaucracy and protect taxpayers as he restored stability and fiscal strength. He continues to defend those principles as Mayor of Miami-Dade County. During his first months in office, Carlos was able to lower property taxes for county residents by over $200 million, roll back unnecessary pay increases to county bureaucrats and reorganize Miami-Dade County government from the top down – to make it more accountable to its citizens.
When Carlos Gimenez was appointed Fire Chief, the department was facing grave financial issues. He modernized the Fire Department and led the largest reorganization on record. With the goal of protecting taxpayers, his reforms saved millions of tax dollars while increasing services to residents. In 2000, with the City of Miami under financial oversight by the State of Florida, residents had lost faith in their government and were demanding change. There were even calls for the city to be disbanded. Facing mounting discontent, Mayor Joe Carollo tapped Carlos Gimenez to lead reforms as Miami City Manager. During his tenure, Carlos restructured city government, restored fiscal stability, significantly lowered taxes, and raised the city’s bond rating from junk to investment grade. Within three years, reserves topped $140 million – the city’s best financial standing in its century-plus history. Under Carlos Gimenez’s leadership, the City of Miami saved taxpayers millions of dollars even as it increased levels of service. He put people back to work by investing in much-needed city infrastructure and creating jobs.
Prior to being elected Mayor, Carlos served as a County Commissioner and was often the lone voice of fiscal responsibility, leading the charge against wasteful spending and increased taxes. He defended Miami-Dade County taxpayers during the controversial Marlins baseball stadium deal, fighting the over $500 million deal that amounted to a direct giveaway of County tax dollars to multi-millionaire team owners, with absolutely no economic benefit to county residents. For years, Carlos labored to present alternate County budget roadmaps with the goal of lowering taxes and restoring fiscal responsibility. Within days of taking office as County Mayor, Carlos presented a budget which did exactly that and it was approved by the County Commission shortly thereafter.
Carlos Gimenez’s commitment to reform has driven him throughout his lifetime of public service. As County Mayor, Carlos has continued to promote the principles that have been central to his public service career: lower taxes and smaller government. He reorganized county government, and reduced both the size and salaries of the County bureaucracy, all while maintaining and strengthening essential services for county residents. Mayor Gimenez is committed to continuing to reform the way the county does business, and make it more responsive to its taxpaying patrons. Mayor Gimenez has also put forward proposals to reform the County charter by creating term limits for County Commissioners, limiting their ability to parlay government service into lucrative lobbying careers and making it easier for new County charter reform proposals to go to a public vote.
Carlos Gimenez has been married to his high school sweetheart, Lourdes – a longtime educator with Miami-Dade Public Schools – for 35 years. They have three grown children – Carlos, Julio and Lourdes – and are the proud grandparents of Alexis, Daniel and Lucas. Carlos graduated from Christopher Columbus High School and received his Bachelor's Degree in Public Administration from Barry University. In 1993, he completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.