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6555: Haitian activist Biamby ousted from Miami post (fwd)

From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

 Published Saturday, January 6, 2001, in the Miami Herald
Haitian activist Biamby ousted from Miami post
 Manager says there were complaints BY LUISA YANEZ

 Longtime Haitian community activist Roger Biamby was fired from his job
 week as administrator of one of Miami's neighborhood mini-city halls
because of
 what City Manager Carlos Gimenez described as numerous complaints about
 performance. It took Gimenez only one day to install Biamby's
replacement, who will now oversee Miami's Design District, Buena Vista,
Little Haiti, Little River and Edison
 -- all neighborhoods trying to redevelop. Lumane Pluviose-Claude, a
Haitian-born woman, who lives in Miramar and until recently was a
program and resource associate for community development at Cornell
University, was on the job Thursday, a day after Biamby's termination
became effective. ``We wanted to get someone in there with an economic
development background who could work with the community and stimulate
 growth in the area,'' Gimenez said Friday. Reached at home, Biamby said
he was
 surprised at his sudden firing as head of the Little Haiti Neighborhood

 Enhancement Team, or NET. ``I think I stepped on some toes, but I'm not
 whose,'' he said. Gimenez cited numerous complaints from residents,
merchants and developers in the area. ``He did not fit with our
management style,'' Gimenez said. ``He did things his own way, and he
was not effective.'' Biamby, 53, had been on the job overseeing up to 10
employees for almost three years. He was hired to the $52,000-a-year job
by former City Manager Donald Warshaw. Biamby's duties were to help
along the economic growth in the area -- a pet project of the city that
hopes to transform sections like the Design District into another South
 The neighborhoods, most just west of Biscayne Boulevard between
 38th and 85th streets, are a complex mix of poverty and affluence, with

 businesses that range from trendy boutiques to neighborhood mom & pop

 Leonie Hermantin, executive director of the Haitian-American
Foundation, said
 she was was sorry to see Biamby go. ``Roger has a very long history of
service to the Haitian community,'' she said.  But some residents met
the news of Biamby's departure with glee. ``Good riddance to that man!''
said Hattie Willis, area activist and president of
 Associated Neighborhoods, a group that encompasses homeowners
 in the area. ``At first, I thought that Mr. Biamby's job was to be a
liaison between our
 community and the city, but it got to the point that to get anything
done, you had
 to bypass him. I hope whoever does this job now cares about this place.
 my only wish.' Biamby's NET office was also charged with seeing that
residents and merchants that area received basis city services -- and
fielding complaints when they
 didn't. NET inspectors also enforce the city's building and zoning
codes, handing
 out citations and occupational licenses. Among the complaints Gimenez
 was that Biamby was not helping attract developers into a largely
 Craig Robbins, president of Dacra Development, the largest landowner in
 Design District with about 20 properties, said tersely Friday: ``I'm
sorry to hear
 Mr. Biamby is no longer with the city. I don't have any other
 Biamby also clashed with with some merchants. ``It was about time for
the city remove him,'' said Michael Lubin, owner of Lubin Discount at
7816 NE 2nd Ave. Lubin, a one-time friend of Biamby's, donated the space
where the NET office is located. ``He had a problem with everybody.''
Recently, Lubin said he wrote Mayor Joe Carollo complaining about
Biamby's tactics. ``I don't think my letter got him fired; I think it
was probably the 200 other complaints they got about him,'' he said.