The Graduate

After ten years as city manager, Cesar Odio is still catching flak about his college education. Give the guy a break. Better yet, give him a diploma.

But even if Reynolds had found something explosive, and even if, in a worst-case scenario, Odio's college degree were declared invalid, there would be little impact on the manager's career. College degrees act as door keys -- once you're inside, you don't need the key any more. And for years Odio has been deep inside.

Besides, if he lost his job today, the 59-year-old Odio would still collect a lavish pension, upwards of $90,000 per year. He also has also developed the kind of contacts who can virtually guarantee him a very fine job somewhere in Dade County.

But he probably won't need to go anywhere.
The same city commission that appointed Sergio Pereira as manager, despite allegations he had lied about having a college degree, is not likely to white-out Odio's career just because of a credibility problem. "I think his performance is much better than whatever degree he may have," says Commissioner Willy Gort. Mayor Steve Clark holds a similar opinion. "I don't have a problem if he has a degree or he doesn't," Clark says. "Harry Truman never had a college degree and he was the best politician there ever was."

Commissioner J.L. Plummer expresses some reservations: "I have a problem with people who lie -- period. If they lie once, they'll die again and again." But Plummer is withholding judgment on Odio until all the facts are in.

The city manager, however, isn't worried. "I don't even need a degree," Odio says. "I tell you that after doing this job for ten years, I could write my own degree.

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