Merrett R. Stierheim

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Merrett R. Stierheim is a public administrator in the public sector in Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA, from 1959 to the present.


Stierheim was an Air Force cadet graduate and served as a First Lieutenant Navigator from 1953 to 1957. He graduated third in his class with a Master's Degree in Governmental Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance from Bucknell University, where, upon graduation, he was awarded the Outstanding Student Achievement Award from the Wall Street Journal.

Early career 1959-1976[edit]

Stierheim interned and later served as Assistant City Manager in Miami from 1959 to 1967; as Clearwater City Manager from 1967 to 1973; and Pinellas County Administrator from 1973 to 1976.[1]

County Manager of Miami-Dade County 1976-1986[edit]

Stierheim first served as County Manager from 1976 to 1986 and successfully supervised a $5 billion countywide infrastructure expansion including the construction of Miami Metro Zoo, the downtown library and cultural complex, the Government Center, several regional parks, libraries, water, sewer and solid waste facilities, and the county's mass transit system - Metrorail and Metromover. He also dealt with a number of events with national repercussions when the community assimilated more than 160,000 refugees from Cuba (the Mariel Exodus) and Haiti. In 1980, he helped restore law and order after severe civil disturbances and joined community leaders to address the social inequities that sparked the disturbances. Many of those programs are still in place today.[2]

CEO of the Women's Tennis Association 1986-1989[edit]

After nearly ten years as County Manager, Stierheim was recruited as President/CEO of the Women's Tennis Association, which included Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver and other tennis professionals. As CEO, Stierheim is credited with making women's professional tennis more international in its scope, doubling prize money, expanding the tiered feeder system of professional tournaments and establishing a player's pension plan.

Stierheim worked with Butch Buchholz to move the Lipton International Players Championships tennis tournament to Key Biscayne in 1987.[3]

CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau 1990-1996[edit]

In 1990, Stierheim was appointed President and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, a marketing, not-for-profit organization with 1,100 corporate members whose mission is to promote Miami-Dade County as a convention, business and leisure destination. Working with government and industry leaders, Stierheim established the Bureau's first dedicated advertising fund with a value exceeding $5 million. When crimes against tourists in 1993 threatened the community's number one industry, Stierheim lobbied for more tourist signs, law enforcement programs and community awareness of the importance of the visitor industry.

During the boycott of the visitor industry by the African-American community, he established the Visitor Industry Human Resource Development Council (VIC), a private, not-for-profit organization working to increase the economic participation of African-Americans at management and professional levels in the local visitor industry through hospitality scholarships. Today, the VIC has awarded over 100 college scholarships and raised well over $1 million from the visitor industry.

Stierheim's efforts led to Miami-Dade experiencing its best tourism years ever in 1995, 1996, and 1997. For his work, he was awarded the 1996 Tourism Professional of the Year by the local visitor industry, and in 1997 he completed the required courses from Purdue and Calgary universities to become a Certified Destination Management Executive.[4]

City Manager of the City of Miami 1996-1996[edit]

After top Miami officials were indicted in a kickback scheme at City Hall in 1996 Stierheim was brought in in September and served pro bono as interim City Manager of the City of Miami where he uncovered a $68 million shortfall in a once approved bogus city budget.[5] He then led a recovery effort, enlisting over forty pro bono private and public sector executives in thirteen task forces and presented a financial recovery plan to the City that is still being followed. The previous city manager, Cesar Odio, was later convicted of bribery and went to prison. More recently, Stierheim completed a similar pro bono financial review at the request of the Homestead Mayor and Council.[6]

County Manager of Miami-Dade County 1998-2001[edit]

In March 1998, he was asked to return to Miami-Dade County to manage a scandal-ridden, demoralized county government with a $4.5 billion budget, 28,000 employees, and 42 departments, including Miami International Airport, the Port of Miami, transportation, water and sewer, health and human services, police and fire.[7][8]

Town Manager Miami Lakes 2001[edit]

He served as the first interim Town Manager of the newly formed Town of Miami Lakes for two months. While conducting a national search for a permanent Manager, he led the Council through a strategic planning process and prepared the Town's first two budgets.

Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools 2001-2004[edit]

Stierheim was named Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools in October 2001.[9] The school board hired him after a land-acquisition scandal left his predecessor, Roger Cuevas, without a job and the board without the trust of the public.[10] He served until June 30, 2004.

Mediator 2004-present[edit]

In 2004, Stierheim joined Wetherington, Klein and Hubbart as a mediator. He shares office space with attorney Hugo Black, Jr., son of the former US Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black.[11]

City manager of the City of Doral 2012-present[edit]

Merrett Stierheim was unanimously approved by the City of Doral Council to be hired as the new City Manager. The vote took place at a special meeting held on December 4, 2012.[12]


In 1998, Stierheim received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Barry University in Miami, Florida. Stierheim is the recipient of numerous local, national and international awards. He has been involved in or has been a principal founder of major Miami-Dade civic and municipal institutions including, the Beacon Council, the GMCVB, and Metro Miami Action Plan (MMAP). He has served on the board of directors of more than 30 local, state and national organizations including Barnett Bank, SunBank, Travel Industry of America (TIA), International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (IACVB), United States National Tourism Organization (NTO 10) and the United Way of Miami-Dade County. Currently, he is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee and serves on the following Boards: YMCA, Zoological Society, Collins Center for Public Trust, The Beacon Council, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, GMCVB, and Mellon National Bank. He is a lifetime member of the International City and County Management Association and is the Chair and lectures at the Academy for Strategic Management at FIU. He also holds a Florida Real Estate license and is certified by the American Arbitration Association to serve on the Complex Arbitration Panel.[13]

In 2003, Stierheim was a National Public Service Award winner. The awards are presented jointly by The American Society for Public Administration and The National Academy of Public Administration to recognize outstanding practitioners who have spent most of their careers in public service.[14]

Stierheim is married to Judy Cannon and has four daughters, Laurey, Cathy, Mia and Paula.

There is a Merrett R. Stierheim Urban Affairs Department at the Miami-Dade Public Library System.[15]


  1. ^ Ranta, Sherri C. (3 June 2004), "Stierheim says he'll continue working in county", Miami Today 
  2. ^ "SCHOOL BOARD NAMES MERRETT STIERHEIM TO INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT POST". Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 18 October 2001. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Sony Ericsson Open". Prolebrity. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "SCHOOL BOARD NAMES MERRETT STIERHEIM TO INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT POST". Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 18 October 2001. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  5. ^ Dluhy 2001. p. 31.
  6. ^ "SCHOOL BOARD NAMES MERRETT STIERHEIM TO INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT POST". Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 18 October 2001. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Criticisms Come With Choice Of Stierheim As County Manager". Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. 12 July 1998. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "Scandal Scars Miami, County". Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. 7 June 1998. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "SCHOOL BOARD NAMES MERRETT STIERHEIM TO INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT POST". Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 18 October 2001. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  10. ^ Ranta, Sherri C. (3 June 2004), "Stierheim says he'll continue working in county", Miami Today 
  11. ^ Ranta, Sherri C. (July 8, 2004), "Stierheim to work with law firm as mediator", Miami Today 
  12. ^ "City Of Doral Names Merrett Stierheim New Interim Manager", CBS, December 6, 2012 
  13. ^ "BOARD OF ADVISORS". Center for Florida Fiscal & Tax Reform. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  14. ^ "Recognizing the Best in Public Service". The American Society for Public Administration. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  15. ^ "Merrett R. Stierheim Urban Affairs Department". Miami-Dade Public Library System. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  • Dluhy, Milan J. and Howard A. Frank. The Miami fiscal crisis: can a poor city regain prosperity? Praeger Publishers, 2001. ISBN 0-275-96213-X.

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