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City Manager Julio Avael

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City Manager Julio Avael


Key West welcomed Julio Avael back home in 1996. After graduating from Key West High School in 1962, he spent many years throughout the state and even as far away as Lake Tahoe, NV before returning to the city of his birth and many of his family and friends.

Key West is the place where he grew up listening to the clatter of dominoes, smelling Cuban cigar tobacco, Cuban Black Beans, café con leche, Cuban bread and the sound of near-by roosters in the early mornings. He spent his youth playing with friends and visiting with family in a time when the island was much simpler. A time when city curfew was 9 PM and movies cost 10 cents.

Avael’s long career in public administration began as a juvenile court counselor for Monroe County, where he became Division of Youth Services Probation and Parole District Supervisor before leaving for Tallahassee.

Avael served as North Florida Regional Director for the Bureau of Community Services, Division of Youth Services North Florida and as Florida Economic Services Program Analyst/Supervisor for the Department of Health Rehabilitative Services. He later became Department of Human Services Director for Lee County and then Lee County Administrator, where he was responsible for a 1 billion budget and managed 2,000 employees.

Avael took a turn out west as County Manager for Douglas County, Nevada. While in the Lake Tahoe area, Avael enjoyed the snow, the mountains, cross-country skiing, and, of course, a little gambling.

When the position for City Manager of Key West opened, Avael jumped at the chance for the opportunity to get back home. He now works with childhood friends he had not seen in nearly 30 years. In fact, during his interview he recognized the faces of old friends in the audience.

Avael has plans for making the City run more effectively and efficiently and started the ball rolling in that direction upon arriving back in Key West. Since he began his tenure here five years ago, Avael has required many city departments to become state and/or nationally certified. He also instituted a formal computerization program and began implementing management expert David Osborne’s 12 principles to reinventing government and the Five Cs of Banishing Bureaucracies.

Avael said that although the changes met with resistance in the beginning they are now going well. In, fact several of his managers recently completed a six-week performance management program at Florida International University.

Throughout much of his professional life, Avael also attended school full time. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Florida International University and a master’s of public administration from Nova University. In 1991, he received a scholarship to attend the Senior Executive Program in Public Administration at Harvard University, where he studied under former Secretary of Labor Dr. Robert Reich.

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