Ex-city supervisor, who stored Miami Beach ‘afloat’ for the duration of tumultuous 1980s, dies of COVID

Feb. 3—Former Miami Beach city supervisor Rob Parkins, who ran the city government by crime waves and finances crises in the 1980s, will be remembered as a no-nonsense leader who navigated a “complicated, dangerous and definitely depressing time” on the Seashore.


“I think Rob at the time was like Winston Churchill in the course of World War II. His biggest asset was that he was in a position to endure and keep our neighborhood afloat with hope,” stated former Mayor Alex Daoud, who put in his 6 years as mayor performing with Parkins.

Parkins, who later still left Miami Beach front for a town manager occupation in Palm Springs, California, died of COVID-19 on Jan. 23, his spouse and children wrote Sunday in an obituary printed in the Miami Herald.

He died in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He was 82.

Parkins is survived by his son, Rob Heglin sisters Patricia Satisfaction and Dr. Sue Parkins Cameron and granddaughter Madeleine Heglin.

“He could be blunt and demeaning, but he was compassionate and empowering, an incredible dude,” his household wrote. “As a chief, friend, co-employee, and relatives member Rob is substantially beloved.”

The former banker, pilot and police officer grew to become Miami Seashore metropolis manager in 1982, as the city grappled with the consequences of a bungled redevelopment program and concerns from fearful inhabitants that an influx of Cuban refugees from the Mariel boatlift experienced designed Miami Beach front unsafe.

Parkins, whose crackdown on criminal offense-ridden residences and inns displaced hundreds of aged inhabitants and led to criticism from civil rights teams, oversaw a time period of advancement in the city with key renovations accepted for the Convention Middle and the Fontainebleau Hotel, and thousands and thousands used restoring flats in the Art Deco District.

In 1987, he declared: “My mates, we have crossed that threshold to a new beginning.”

Parkins, who labored as a Miami cop and metropolis administrator in advance of heading across Biscayne Bay, liked to do the job just one night time a 7 days as an officer for Miami Seashore Police although he was town manager.

“I get a good deal nearer to the metropolis by finding out of the business office and on to the streets,” he explained in 1983. “I understand an awful ton.”

His tough-doing work character — and the 12 cups of espresso for every working day he once drank, chased with a few packs of cigarettes — landed him at Mount Sinai Professional medical Center considerably less than a yr into his new gig. He the moment insisted on keeping a town assembly in the hospital’s eating space although dressed in a bathrobe and pajamas.

“It in no way crossed my brain that it may possibly be extremely remarkable,” Parkins said. “If I had been introduced in on a gurney with an IV, that would have been extremely dramatic.”

Parkins experienced a way of converting enemies into good friends.

When then-Commissioner Daoud ran for mayor in 1985 on an anti-City Corridor platform, he vowed to thrust Parkins out of place of work. Daoud quickly adjusted his tune, and he finally advised Parkins for the Palm Springs work when then-Mayor Sonny Bono recruited Parkins away. He worked in Palm Springs right until 1999, as a metropolis supervisor and a portion-time officer.

“In politics you have to have an understanding of there is constantly give and just take. When it is really more than and carried out, we both wished to care about our city,” Daoud explained.

Daoud was later charged with bribery soon after currently being accused of employing his community business office to enrich himself and update his Miami Seaside dwelling — and Parkins testified in courtroom that the era of progress in the town he presided around was ripe for abuse.

“There was both of those the excitement of observing the Beach front moving in advance, and the concern that this delivered opportunities for these who may well be so inclined to solicit favors or items,” Parkins explained at the time.

Former Mayor Matti Herrera Bower, who labored briefly with Parkins when she was an activist in the city, claimed the 6-foot-tall, bearded supervisor understood how to get his way.

“He was pretty imposing, she reported. “I bear in mind that he wanted it his way.”

As he advised Ira Giller, the president-elect of the Chamber of Commerce in 1983, Parkins felt he essential to act boldly since he never understood when he would be fired.

“There are two types of city administrators,” Parkins mentioned. “There is a routine maintenance manager, who sits again and watches in excess of, and an at-danger manager. I am an at-threat manager. I know the typical lifetime span of a town manager is 2.2 yrs. I imagine this metropolis is on the threshold of greatness if we program for it.”

His family members claimed “there will be a celebration when tales and hugs can be shared,” and they directed memorial donations to Miami Beach Law enforcement Section Retirees, Palm Springs Law enforcement Officer Association, the Salvation Military or an animal rescue of your preference.

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