Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin, longest serving official, dies

Written by January 1, 2023


Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin, longest serving official, dies

Harvey Ruvin devoted 50 years to the general public as an elected official in Miami-Dade County, a file that may possible stand unmatched. But as an early environmentalist he was as pleased with his service to the planet as he was of his service to the county. In each endeavors, he was each revered and well-liked.

County commissioners late final yr deliberate to current Mr. Ruvin at age 85 with a proclamation for his service, however sickness saved him away from that fee assembly, and the general public approval for greater than half a century of service by no means got here earlier than he was claimed by most cancers. on New Yr’s Eve.

Mr. Ruvin as Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts and Ex-Officio Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners was the county’s chief recorder for greater than 30 years. Few officers might declare his reputation with voters, as was evident in 2020 when extra Miami-Dade residents voted for him — practically 759,000 folks — than every other candidate on the poll. This included races for president, Congress and the county mayor. The private reputation was all of the extra exceptional that his title appeared on each visitors quotation the district issued.

Mr. Ruvin, who in 1972 went from being North Bay Village mayor to profitable and holding a Miami-Dade Fee seat for 20 years earlier than then turning into a county clerk, was a low-key elected official and all the time shifted credit score for his continued public favor to . his stick

“Throughout this pandemic, the folks in my workplace have been heroic,” he stated in 2021. “We had been the primary clerk’s workplace to go digital, and it positioned us to be proactive and made our information far more accessible. My staff took the additional steps, and judging me, the very first thing on the voters’ thoughts is how nice somebody was after they wanted data. Why make a change?”

Because the custodian of all county information, Mr. Ruvin felt it was important that the clerk’s workplace stay non-political. The very last thing the general public ought to suppose, he stated, is that information are manipulated or inaccurate. “So, I attempt to avoid politics. The one exception is that I stay energetic on environmental and local weather change. I simply have a lot of my life invested in that.”

A lot of right this moment’s core environmental efforts in Miami-Dade County are the results of ordinances and insurance policies that Mr. Ruvin put in place as a commissioner a long time earlier than local weather change was a standard concern. Amongst them: Miami-Dade’s residential and industrial recycling system, efforts to curb greenhouse gases which have offset 40 million tons of carbon emissions, an endangered land conservation program that on the time of its creation was the biggest of its type within the nation . and, extra not too long ago, main the district’s Sea Degree Rise Process Power.

“I attempt to take the lengthy view,” he stated. “Within the brief time period, you’ll have naysayers and other people extra centered on quick points, however options have to be made lengthy earlier than these unimaginable results get right here.”

In such efforts, he crossed social gathering strains and alliances, working with everybody and listening to everybody’s issues. He spoke unwell of some and praised many, a district-wide elected official who had the respect of colleagues. He most well-liked to influence slightly than assault those that opposed him on a trigger, and he did so efficiently. He all the time most well-liked to offer credit score for successes to others.

Covid-19 examined his longtime practices, and he adjusted the operations of the 1,200 staff within the clerk’s workplace and his personal, dealing with most operations as distant as Homestead, as far north as Aventura and west in Doral.

Mr. Ruvin was born in New York and moved together with his household to Miami. He acquired his bachelor’s diploma in industrial engineering from the College of Florida in 1959 and his Juris Physician from the College of Miami College of Legislation in 1962.

His father ran a delicatessen, and he usually spoke fondly of the well-known folks he met whereas delivering lunch or dinner. He and his spouse Risa loved eating with others locally, however by no means on Wednesday evenings, which had been reserved for “the sport” – poker with longtime associates.

He was a lifelong sports activities fan and sometimes spoke of his beloved Dodgers (the Brooklyn selection) and of being within the stands when a well-known 1951 residence run by Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants sank Brooklyn’s pennant hopes. He was in a newspaper photograph with a college pal displaying the place the ball landed.

As an grownup he performed racquetball. He traveled round the US taking part in in tournaments, rising as excessive as sixteenth within the nation.

In later life, he was an avid fan of Miami Warmth basketball, one other sport through which his teenage ties had been eager. He additionally practiced transcendental meditation, crediting it partially for his psychological acuity and bodily health. In his last years he began taking part in chess with companions from the clerk’s workplace.

Uncommon for a political determine, he had no identified enemies and even detractors. He advised Miami Immediately in 2021 that his private philosophy was “suppose constructive. Deal with folks the way in which you’d prefer to be handled.”

He by no means thought of working for workplace past Miami-Dade’s borders, he advised Miami Immediately. “The job of a legislator, whether or not congressional or state, is to push a sure or no button, though some take the initiative, maintain hearings and attempt to develop concepts for laws. In native authorities, you go an order and get quick suggestions. You may make modifications, tweak issues. The county fee was far more interactive and compliant.”

After he bought his legislation diploma in 1962 he practiced legislation, principally jury trials, and regarded to concentrate on environmental legislation. He then turned the Mayor of North Bay Village in 1968, a part-time function. He ran for county fee in 1972 and received. He has by no means misplaced an election since, for half a century.

Reflecting on his days as a county commissioner, he famous the distinction from right this moment’s 13-member fee elected by 13 counties, with a powerful mayor changing the mayor-administrative system through which he labored.

“I served on the fee with 9 members,” he stated. “The mayor was a member. His perform was to preside over the assembly. We had a county administrator, whose perform was to be the executive head of the county, to nominate all of the departmental administrators and to run the federal government. The mayor was simply the political chief, and the eight commissioners ran countywide regardless that we had been elected from geographic districts. Having invested 20 years in that system, I believed it labored properly. All of us had the district as our curiosity, not a parochial piece of it. Even if you happen to had been in an space the place there weren’t many minorities, you continue to needed to fear and take care of these issues. You needed to go to each precinct within the district to search for votes and present that you simply needed to reply to everybody.”

Later he held a twin function as clerk of courts and clerk of the Miami-Dade Fee. The place was positioned within the state structure, with the clerk, along with offering clerical help to the courtroom system, serving because the county auditor, the depository of county funds and clerk of the board.

He is additionally seen modifications in that function, reflecting two years in the past that “Once I got here into this workplace in 1992, we had about 1,700 staff. We now have slightly below 1,200. With expertise, I’ve steadily decreased the workforce and our personnel finances. I did it due to attrition. When folks retire or depart, I do not fill these positions. I attempt to mentor folks to take greater positions, transfer up the ladder. That is a long-term administration effort that every one my departments are centered on. Sporting his environmental slightly than elected official hat, Mr. Ruvin has lengthy been energetic in local weather change. In 1990, he was a founding member of the Worldwide Council for Native Environmental Initiatives, ICLEI, as a consultant of what was then Dade County. Its objective was to create community to share details about the difficulty and take part in annual conferences held by the United Nations, the Convention of the Events.He attended six of them.

“I used to be as soon as vp of the worldwide ICLEI, then president of ICLEI USA,” he recalled. “We now have an energetic group now coordinating our greatest practices and being a guide to US cities and counties.”

He additionally served as president of the Nationwide Affiliation of Districts within the late Nineteen Eighties and remained on the board of administrators till his demise.

Funeral companies are pending.

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