Mayor & Council



Mayor Spencer Deno comes from a pioneer family of the Village. He is also the youngest elected Mayor in Virginia Gardens and one of the youngest in Miami-Dade County. Spencer Deno IV, a native son, and the 2nd Mayor to be born and raised in the Village. He was born to Marilyn and Spencer Deno III July 7, 1973 and was raised in the Village of Virginia Gardens with his siblings Tanya, Carl & Chris. Mayor Deno has lived in the Village for over 30 years. Mayor Deno’s maternal grandparents Carl & Florene Groh, pioneer residents of Miami Springs, lived in Miami Springs for over 50 years and were the first couple to be married in Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Virginia Gardens. His paternal grandparents, Fred and Nancy Deno Jr., were pioneer residents and lived in Virginia Gardens for over 50 years. His parents Spencer and Marilyn Deno have been living in Virginia Gardens for over 35 years. His mother Marilyn was elected Council President in 1991 and served a four-year term. His father, Spencer III is co-athletic director for the Village and is dedicated to helping the youth in sports activities. Mayor Deno has been married to his wife Sandra for nineteen years and they have two children-Alyssa, age 19 and Spencer V, age 18. Mayor Deno attended Miami Springs Elementary and Middle school and graduated from Miami Springs Senior High School. He attended Tennessee Wesleyan College on a soccer scholarship and also attended Miami Dade-Community College. He Graduated from Barry University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration. He has been working for the United States Postal Service for the past twenty years and is the South Florida District Safety Manager. Mayor Deno served as co-athletic director for the Village in 1993-95. He was the youngest elected council member in the Village when he was elected council president in 1997. He was re-elected council president in 2001. Spencer Deno IV has served as Mayor of Virginia Gardens since 2003.

You may contact Mayor Deno in writing at:
The Village of Virginia Gardens
6498 N.W. 38th Terrace
Virginia Gardens, FL 33166
or by e-mail at:


Ms. Conover has been a resident of this community for over 50 years. She attended Blessed Trinity Catholic School and then continued on and graduated from Immaculata LaSalle High School in 1980. She obtained her certification as a Paralegal and worked in the legal field for 10 years. She later returned to Florida International University to finish her Bachelor’s in education, a Master’s in Educational Media and certification in Educational Leadership. Ms. Conover has been employed with the Miami-Dade County Public School system for the past 27 years.

Ms. Conover feels Virginia Gardens is a wonderful place to live and raise children. She has 2 children, Victoria, 21 and Nicholas, 17 and they are all members of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church.

She has been an active voice in the community concerning the flooding, along with helping to secure funds from South Florida Water Management for the flood mitigation project. She helped petition and spoke at various zoning and council meetings against the operation of assisted living facilities in our neighborhood and is liaison to the Police Department. She has been on the council for the past 14 years and her goal is to provide responsible leadership and serve this community fairly with integrity and accountability.


Gabriel Fernandez is a life-long resident of Miami where he’s been an active member of the community from an early age.  He attended Miami Springs Senior High where he was the Class of 2003 President and was the Master of Ceremonies at his graduation ceremony. 

Gabriel polished his guest service skills while working at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami, while still finding time to support his community.  In addition to being an active member of the youth sport programs, one group Gabriel is passionate about are the senior citizens from assisting with applications for financial support to singing with them or playing a hand of Dominoes. 

Currently Gabriel works in the construction industry as Contract Support Speciatlist at the FDOT North Dade office while maintaining an active role in the community as part of Virginia Gardens’ Beautification Committee for the past 5 years.  Talk about a jack of all trades!

In his personal life, Gabriel is married to his high school sweetheart, Mailin Fernandez.  They have been together since the age of 15 and together they have 3 beautiful children; Angel (11), Nicolas (7) and Faith (5).  He has coached youth soccer for the past 7 years in the Village of Virginia Gardens and in Miami Springs.  His family’s passion is camping and exploring this wonderful country with friends and family.


Elizabeth Taylor-Martinez is originally from North Carolina, the only child of Kenneth Leatherman and Ora Elizabeth (Hoyle), who moved to the Miami Springs-Virginia Gardens area in 1968 with my mother. I attended Miami Springs Junior High School and graduated from Miami Springs Senior High School in 1972. I have been a resident of the Village of Virginia Gardens since 1978. I am married to Hector Martinez, a Physical Education Teacher, who retired from the United States Naval Reserves after 22½ years, as First Class Petty Officer. I am also retired from counseling and teaching.

I began public service to the Village of Virginia Gardens with the Beautification Committee in 1989, and later served as Chairperson for several terms. The mission of the Beautification Committee has always been to keep our streets tree lined and maintain our tree canopy. I resigned from the Beautification Committee to run for Council Member, to which I was elected. In addition, I have also served as Council President for two terms.

As a Council Member, I have worked on the Safe Pools Ordinance; a grant for the Senior Citizens Program; increase in Voter Registration; registration program for residents with special needs with our Police Department; adequate drainage for the Village; annexation; Safe Parks Grant; and basically any other item or items that have come before the Village Council.

In all, I have proudly served the residents of the Village of Virginia Gardens since 1989, a place we all call home…


Most important in my life, as I am sure that it is in yours, is my family. My wife Esther, 37 years my better half, my children Jerry, Kristi, Matthew and Christian, their wives and husbands, Tim, Deanna, Mariana and Gabriela and my four grandchildren, Jerry, Evan, Christian and Isabella. Without them, I am a ship without a rudder. On the personal side, I was born on November 14, 1942 and educated in New York City culminating at Fordham University where I graduated with a degree in Inter-American Relations. Commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force and schooled in signal intelligence, worked with the National Security Agency and specialized in the Middle East problem. Upon leaving the military with the rank of Captain, entered the business world and spent most of my career in the self employed world. This period ended with a 20 year span as an owner of a water well drilling company in Ecuador, South America. At 57 years of age I changed careers and went from a world of machines to a world of human relations. I worked for The Florida Department of Children and Families as a seniorcase manager with Judge Cohen in Drug Court and for you as your councilman. Presently, with the approval of the Mayor and the City Council I represent the Village of Virginia Gardens at The County, State and National levels of the Florida League of Cities. I also am an active member of the Dade Miami Boards which treat Criminal and Juvenile Problems in our County. In summation, I have been truly blessed and wouldn’t change my life here in Virginia Gardens for anything in the world.


Councilman Jorge Arce was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to the United States in 1962 at the age of 14 under the Pedro Pan airlift program to a foster home. Later that year he was joined by his parents and they were relocated to Michigan where he attended school. He went on to work for General Motors while also working part time as a translator for the Ingham County court system. In 1966 he married Barbara, and had two daughters Lisa and Tina, after 10 years of marriage they divorced.

In 1978 Jorge married Rosa and they had 3 daughters, Solangel, Shanin and Daniela. After massive layoffs in 1986 at several General Motors plants in the area, he decided to move his family to Miami for a new start.

He was employed at Armellini Express Lines for 18 year as a safety and driver recruiting manager then went on to work for Winn-Dixie distribution center as a dispatch supervisor and after 2 years he decided to retired.

He has been a resident of Virginia Gardens for the past 24 years and an active member of his community ,He currently represent the Village of Virginia Gardens at the Noise Abatement Advisory Board at Miami International Airport and also a member of the Miami Lakes Technical School Advisory Board CDL division.