In the course of an hour Wednesday night, Doral City Manager Joe Carollo went from witnessing a motion to have him fired to being given a vote of confidence by the majority of the City Council.
The council chambers teemed with residents and reporters Wednesday night as the councils regular meeting opened with Mayor Luigi Boria proposing to oust Carollo, a motion that failed after about an hour of discussion. Councilwoman Sandra Ruiz seconded the motion to trigger the discussion before withdrawing, killing the measure.
Earlier in the day, Doral police charged a business associate of the mayor with filing a false police report accusing Carollo of assault, but that wasnt what Boria wanted to talk about Wednesday night.
Instead Boria aired other grievances, saying Carollo traveled without approval to Las Vegas in June to try to promote Doral as a future host city for the Miss USA pageant, snooped into council members spending habits and took a week off without approval.
I deeply believe that he has problems with conduct, and its hard for me to live with this situation, Boria said.
Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez disagreed, saying Carollo had done nothing to merit dismissal and pointing out that the whole council commended Carollo during the budget season.
She and Councilwoman Bettina Rodriguez-Aguilera cited Borias past actions in opposing Carollos firing, including unexpectedly kicking Sandra Ruiz out of the vice mayors seat in February and recently appearing on radio shows during which rumors of Doral councilwomen taking bribes were discussed.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for you, but I think that the pattern of erratic behavior has not been from our manager, Ana Maria Rodriguez said. I think its been from you.
Councilwoman Christi Fraga said that while she has had her own differences with Carollo, differences are not reason enough to ask for his resignation.
I never came up here and asked for his removal because we disagreed, she said.
Ruiz suggested the city come up with a code of conduct and evaluation process for the city manager. She said as an aside that communication among Dorals leadership needs to improve, adding that she feels the states Sunshine Law, which requires public business to be conducted in public, is abused sometimes.
There are times when people see you in a restaurant eating with another person, and then someone takes a picture and sends it to the Ethics Commission, she said.
Carollo sat, quiet and calm, during the discussion, which ended with a 3-2 vote of confidence in him. Boria and Ruiz dissented.
But Carollo, a former Miami mayor and city commissioner, was not to be silenced all night.
He later explained that he was given permission by the mayor and council to travel, and showed reporters expense reports signed by Boria. And he promised to make public some unsavory information about Boria at a special council meeting next week.
I will get into everything, he said. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Carollo said Borias problems with him began after Carollo told the mayor he would not tolerate being threatened with his firing or by businessman Juan Carlos Tovar, who had accused Carollo of pulling him forcibly into a locked room in City Hall to curse at him and insult his heritage.