The Council meeting on November 13, 2013 in the City of Doral proves to be yet the most dramatic in the series. From the onset of the meeting, Mayor Boria aggressively sets the tone for the 7 1/2 hour long meeting ended at 1:41 AM, November 14th.
CHRISTI FRAGA APPOINTED NEW VICE MAYOR
As per the City Charter, every November the Council chooses to appoints a New Vice Mayor. Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez addresses the council and appoints Christi Fraga after explaining that although she would be honored to be Vice Mayor, she has a baby due in December, and it would be in the best interest of the City for Councilwoman Fraga to take over the position. The then Vice Mayor, Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, seconds the motion. However, Mayor Boria has other plans. He suggests that Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera continues her term until, “Whenever you want, maybe March, April, whenever.” Said the Mayor.
Councilwoman Ruiz points out that the Charter clearly states that in November a new vice mayor be appointed. “But, I am the Mayor and the Chair, I say we here all the nominations first.” A stunned council and an even more stunned City Attorney finally steps in, “Mr. Mayor, I cannot ignore the City Charter.” States the City Attorney.
The Mayor quickly pounces on the City Manager who is simply sitting quietly watching the proceedings and gavel in hand states, “you are out of order Mr. Manager.” Joe Carollo, City Manager, looks confused, “I haven’t spoken, Mr. Mayor.” Mayor Boria then accuses the Manager of making a “hand gesture” to the City Attorney and says he (the Manager) cannot do that. Words are exchanged between the two briefly, as the Councilwoman try to steer the meeting back on track. It appears that the Manager not only is not allowed to speak but is also not allowed to move without the Mayor’s consent.
Councilwoman Rodriguez Aguilera respectfully declines the Mayor’s nomination and on a unanimous vote, Councilwoman Fraga is appointed Vice Mayor.
SPECIAL OLYMPICS RECOGNITION
Parks and Recreation recognized Anna Marie Martinez who was the recipient of the Special Olympics Florida “Excellence in Coaching” Award 2013.
KEEP DORAL BEAUTIFUL NOMINATION
The American Welding Society received special recognition by Adam Temple from Code Enforcement for the Keep Doral Beautiful November 2013 nomination. The American Welding Society Building located at NW 41st Street and 87th Avenue, has undergone major construction, renovations, and beautification face-lift. It is the home of Senator Marco Rubio as well as Congressman Mario Diaz Balart.
PARKS & RECREATION GOLD MEDAL AWARD FINALIST
The Parks and Recreation Department received the 2013 Gold Medal Award Finalist. Barbara Hernandez, Parks & Recreation Director, was present with her team of employees and showcased the prestigious award. “I am very proud of my team and of this achievement.” She stated.
MISS AMERICA PAGEANT
The topic of the Miss America Pageant and Donald Trump’s decision not to bring it to Doral in 2014 even though he owns the Trump International was brought up again by none other than the Mayor himself. Mayor Boria voted against the City Manager moving forward on the project, a 4 to 1 vote. Mr. Trump stated that he wanted the “full support” of the Mayor which he did not have. Mayor Boria claimed that in a private conversation with Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump stated that the decision was made because the resort would not be finished in time. However, the attorney representing Trump, Mr. Carlos Gimenez, Jr. was present informed the council that the deal was very close to being completed and sealed until the negative vote from the Mayor. That even though the resort would not be at 100% completion, “maybe at about 80%”, it was very possible to have done the shots of the contestants around the Miami area and the resort without focusing on the unfinished areas. He assured all that Mr. Trump had been willing to close the deal and reminded all that this was an event that not only had an economic impact on Doral but on the neighboring cities of Miami and Miami Beach. The Mayor, however, to the dismay of many, failed to comprehend and/or acknowledge the testimony of Mr. Gimenez and continued on his determined version of events stating that in the private mystery conversation with Mr. Trump, he stated otherwise. The pageant represented a revenue of 15 million dollars to the City of Doral, give or take a million.
MARCH FOR JESUS
A discussion was held for the event scheduled for Saturday, November 16th at JC Bermudez Park, The March for Jesus. The group addressed the council regarding the event and believed that there was no support from the City, however, it was clearly stated by the City Manager that the issue was not the event itself, but that the organization had failed to file the proper and required paperwork to acquire the permits for the event. Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz addressed the Council as well regarding the topic and a diplomatic exchange was held by Commissioner Diaz and Mr. Carollo, since Miami Dade County had licensing pending which were needed to complete the permitting process which the organization had not even started with the City of Doral. “All I am respectfully asking for is direction from this council on how to proceed.” Stated the Manager. The City Attorney also stated that the City could not give funds to a religious organization, it is in violation of the Florida Constitution. The question asked by council members excluding the Mayor was, “why have you waited so long?” It is not proper protocol for an organization to plan an event of this size and not have completed the permitting process. In addition, it was brought to light that the staff had helped expedite the process evident by a press conference that was planned again without following the proper channels, laws, and protocol of the City. The Manager made it clear that the issue was not the event, but that the process and proper channels had not been adhered to.
In true dramatic form, the Mayor throws a tantrum and storms out of the chamber slamming the gavel on the new appointed Vice Mayor, when he is told that he cannot hire a City Employee, pay him with personal funds, and not go through the proper channels. “You may hire a personal assistant for your person affairs and business, but cannot call him a City Employee or the ‘Chief of Staff’ if he is not hired through the office of the Manager.” Stated the attorney, emphasizing that as per the City Charter, only the City Manager was authorized to hire employees. The Mayor also threatened to have anyone removed via “the Sargeant of Guard” if he was ever interrupted on the dais. A position which the City Manager later stated did not exist. The then Vice Mayor Rodriguez Aguilera corrected the Mayor, “Guard of Arms, that’s what it’s called.” Nonetheless, the Mayor threatened council with military removal for disrupting him at any time.
All council members tried to explain and reason with the Mayor. Who finally stated, “I do not want to discuss this anymore. I am going to do what I want. I don’t care what you say. Discussion Over.” He stated and stormed out of Chambers leaving all stunned. “In the 40 years that I have been in politics, I have never seen anything like this.” Stated the City Manager.
After further discussions, absent the Mayor, meeting adjourned, 7 1/2 hours after it had started.
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