A former MTV executive is running for Miami Beach mayor. Can he beat political insiders?

Courtesy of Bill Roedy

Bill Roedy, a former executive at MTV, is running for mayor of Miami Beach, hoping to shake up the race as a political outsider challenging a pair of former elected officials.

Roedy, who spearheaded MTV’s global expansion as CEO of MTV Networks International, filed paperwork at the city clerk’s office Thursday morning for the November election. The mayor’s seat will be open as Mayor Dan Gelber is term-limited.

It won’t be an easy road for Roedy. His opponents include Michael Gongora, a former city commissioner, and Michael Grieco, an ex-city commissioner and state representative. Steven Meiner, a current city commissioner, is also considering a mayoral run.

In an interview, Roedy said he believes his leadership experience would help him succeed.

“I truly know how to lead and build consensus and drive change,” he said. “I’m a political newcomer, but I think that’s an advantage because I think I can bring a fresh perspective.”

Roedy, 74, graduated from North Miami High School before attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served a year in Vietnam during the Vietnam War and commanded several NATO nuclear missile units in Italy during the Cold War.

After leaving the Army after reaching the rank of captain, Roedy went to Harvard Business School and then began his career in media, working for HBO for a decade starting in 1979. He went on to work at MTV, leading its international operations and launching the headquarters of MTV Latin America in Miami Beach.

Roedy also played a prominent role in humanitarian efforts against HIV and AIDS, creating an MTV foundation for the cause and being named an ambassador for the United Nations’ anti-AIDS program in 1998.

Despite his lack of government experience, Roedy will look to paint himself as a level-headed, business-minded option in a field of political players who are already battling over past controversies and campaign finance claims.

“I believe Miami Beach deserves to be represented by someone of the highest standards and integrity,” Roedy said. “The politicians, in many ways, have failed Miami Beach. The politicians I’m running against want a promotion, but I don’t think they’ve earned it.”

Roedy emphasized his ability to “sell” Miami Beach as a destination city, even as he says its reputation has taken a hit in recent years due to high-profile incidents of violence during spring break.

“No one has sold more than I have in my career. I can sell anything,” Roedy said. “I can promise you, I would sell Miami Beach like it’s never been sold before.”

Roedy said his priorities as mayor would start with public safety and that the city’s police department should be among the best-trained and highest-compensated in the country.

He said the city should continue to find innovative ways to combat sea-level rise, get a “better handle” on homelessness, and seek solutions for traffic problems — although he said the proposed Baylink between Miami Beach and Miami is “probably not the answer.”

As he considered a run for office in recent weeks, Roedy has spoken to residents and political stakeholders alongside Jerry Libbin, president and CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. Roedy said Libbin is a friend of his, but that there is “absolutely no connection” between his candidacy and the chamber, a nonprofit group.

Roedy, who retired from MTV in 2010 and has owned property at the luxury Il Villagio condo building at the north end of Ocean Drive since 1999, added that any concerns about whether he has spent sufficient time in Miami Beach during his globetrotting career are unfounded.

Roedy said he has always kept an eye on Miami Beach politics and was appointed late last year to serve on a budget advisory committee.

“I always had an anchor here in the times I was away,” he said.

Even the city’s seemingly complex problems, Roedy said, “have really simple solutions.”

“I’m here to get things done,” he said. “There’s no problem I’ve seen that can’t be solved with some political will.”