“The Buck Stops with the North Miami Mayor”

Philippe Bien Aime, Mayor of North Miami

Recently, the City of North Miami announced that for the first time in six years, our reported budget has a surplus. We revitalized the General Fund by making hard decisions and reorganizing our fiduciary responsibilities. There are many people, departments, and municipal entities who can celebrate this success with us, but as the Mayor, I truly believe that all successes and challenges within our great city begin and end at my desk. The “Buck Stops Here” is cliché, but it is also a credo by which I have and will continue to execute my duties in this office. I’ve learned the real value of this statement and the leadership that it inspires from twenty years of experience in private sectors. President Truman coined the phrase and he exemplified the Leadership, Experience and Results of an historical administrative effort.

As a young kid growing up in Haiti, I would walk down Harry Truman Boulevard. I often wondered why a major thoroughfare in Port-au-Prince was named after America’s 33rd President. It wasn’t until later, as a College Student, that I learned the street was named in the ’40s because of Truman’s support for The Haiti Exposition World Fair of 1949. This monumental event celebrated the bicentennial of Port-au-Prince’s founding. It was the first time that an officially-designated world’s fair was held in the Caribbean.

Harry Truman had a sign on the presidential desk that read “The Buck Stops Here.” Imagine that! The phrase developed in response to another cliche: “pass the buck,” the ubiquitous political practice of passing responsibility onto someone else. It’s a phrase derived from the American frontiersmen game of poker wherein a buck-horn handle was used to indicate the person whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to deal, he could pass the responsibility by passing the “buck” to the next player.

Harry Truman famously said in 1953: “The greatest part of the President’s job is to make decisions, big-ones and small ones, dozens of them almost every day. The papers may circulate around the Government for a while but they finally reach this desk. And then, there’s no place else for them to go. The President-whoever it is-has to decide. He (or she) can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.”

When I was elected Mayor of North Miami in 2019, I was determined to never “pass the buck.” We promised our constituents that we would pull up our boot straps and get the City’s finances in order. We were in the red for three years prior to our inauguration and I promised that in the next three years we would NOT be. I knew that our residents deserved better. Our goal was to prioritize our senior and youth citizen services. We expanded our parks in partnership with the school district, and worked to ensure that our city-operated library continued to win national awards. We improved our sanitation and water services and enhanced overall public safety services for our constituents. We did this while we committed ourselves to surgically streamlining our administration and providing opportunities for our taxpayers to save their hard earned money.

The mayor’s office, City Council and the City Manager did this in the spirit of our motto “City of Progress.” We transformed our municipal budget in leaps and bounds. The residents and taxpayers of North Miami are the beneficiaries. This was (and is) a truly amazing team effort, advancing from a deficit to a surplus in the last three years of my administration. And we did all of this despite an international pandemic. We did this work in the spirit of the President Truman’s administrative efforts. As Truman says, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets credit.” And for me, the buck always stops with the Mayor.

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  1. I hope you’re not like the State Governor that
    US Government send to Florida to help the
    People, he stop the program and said State has
    a surplus. Now is worse for everyone to pay
    Their rent. and nobody in Florida cares about
    People, mr.mayer not everyone works for city or
    County to have high pay salary.


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