The MVB Worthy Award was inspired by "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," a 1963 movie starring Phil Silvers, Spencer Tracy, and Jonathan Winters among others. The parallels between the film and life in Miami-Dade County were eerily similar starting with the title of the picture which resonated with local relevance. In the movie, the characters will stop at nothing to get rich, just like many of our public "servants." When Jonathan Winters yells, "It's the Big 'W,' I tell ya, the Big 'W'!", they are led to believe that four palm trees resembling a "Big W" mark the spot where a recently deceased old guy's (Jimmy Durante) riches are buried. MVB liked the idea of taking a negative symbol that served as a beacon for cutthroat opportunists and transforming it into a positive one used in an award that recognizes the efforts of those men and women fighting corruption and unbridled spending in a public sector palm covered world gone mad by greed and bone-headed stupidity.
Our third ever MVB Worthy Award goes to the rarest of breeds, the public servant who can say no to spending your money. When Terence Riley, president of the Miami Art Museum, came begging recently for millions of dollars from the Bond Oversight committee to build his $208 million museum, all but one of its board members caved. That gentleman's name is Jose Solares. It seemed Mr. Solares, an electrical engineer appointed by Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, had a problem with the museum's preliminary budget's consulting fees, some of which are listed here*:
- $2.2 million for MEP/FP consultants
- $1.1 million for structural consultants
- $200,000 for a lighting consultant
- $125,000 for acoustical/audiovisual consultants
- $100,000 for food consultants
- $100,000 for thermal studies
- $50,000 for digital systems consultants
- $50,000 for an elevator/escalator consultant
- $50,000 for a retail consultant
As much as we want to see the art and science museums rise at Bicentennial Park, we'd also love to see somebody pull in the reins at least once in awhile against the charging, mindless beasts running roughshod over the public coffers. There aren't enough public servants like Mr. Solares riding shotgun on the county and city's runaway stagecoach. He may have lost this one, but he won our respect and humble recognition.
UpDate (6/14): Riley gets an extra $2 million from City of Miami commissioners for his museum.
*As reported in the April 5th edition of The SunPost.