In a move that sent shockwaves through political corridors, Doral Mayor Luigi Borias nomination of former Miami Mayor Joe Carollo as the new city manager Wednesday night was unanimously accepted by the five-member council, with brief discussion.
Carollo, a political lightening rod who has not held office since a failed reelection bid in 2001, replaces Merrett Stierheim, who resigned abruptly only a few hours before the announcement. Stierheim was hired as the citys interim manager last month after Yvonne Soler-McKinley resigned.
Stierheims mission: To lead the search for a full-time manager, and help in the transition.
In his resignation letter, Stierheim said he played no role whatsoever in the selection process, nor was I aware of it. Reached later he called the appointment of the quick-tempered and often bombastic former public servant a terrible decision.
Borias announcing of Carollos nomination came shortly after the 6 p.m. city council meeting began. Most of the 200 or so in attendance sat quietly and listened intently. A brief discussion ensued in which Vice Mayor Sandra Ruiz questioned the wisdom of hiring a new manager without a search, but in the end the five-member council voted together for the Carollo appointment.
Carollo, who is expected to sign a contract and begin work Thursday will earn $144,000 a year in salary, plus benefits. He will oversee a staff of 277 workers.
A short while after his successful nomination, Boria presided over a hastily-called press conference in a small room outside the City Hall chamber. Carollo was absent. The mayor read off the highlights of Carollos resumé, but refused to answer any questions posited by the media about his new city managers past.
Carollo was always here, said Boria, a former councilman who won the mayoral run-off in November. He was always helping and giving me ideas. Remember I am not a career politician. I am just a business owner. I need somebody who really has expertise in that arena and I am open to receive advice.
Reached at home after the announcement, Carollo said he will gladly fill the position, and will not accept any type of severance in his contract. He wouldnt go into specifics about what his plans are for the city. The new manager said he has been doing government consulting work, but refused to say for whom.
I know how both the mayor and the council members feel, and what to expect from the other side, said Carollo. I think that gives me a great advantage.
Asked if he will move to Doral, Carollo said selling his Miami home would be difficult, and besides he said, the city managers job is probably the most unstable in the whole country.
Carollo was offered the same position when Soler-McKinley resigned in December, but declined.
It was not until late Tuesday and early Wednesday that rumors began to circulate of Carollos possible nomination a move that would have him back serving the public after an 11-year absence.
In recent weeks Carollo was seen visiting the Boria home for lunch. The family has the tradition of eating together every day. Carollo has also sat in on Borias media interviews and keeps track of his schedule, reminding Boria of upcoming appointments. The two also share a spiritual bond: They go to the Alpha and Omega Christian church in southwest Miami-Dade.