HBO’s miniseries, Chernobyl, has been critically acclaimed, scoring 19 Emmy nominations for telling the story of the meltdown of a Soviet reactor in Ukraine and its release of toxic radiation across Eastern Europe. Closer to home, Miami has witnessed the meltdown of City of Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo.
If recriminations and paranoia were as deadly as radiation, South Florida would be just as much of a dead zone as the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It’s just that Revoltin’ Joe isn’t in line to win any awards.
Joe Carollo has always traded in innuendo and fear, being quick to accuse his opponents, both real and imagined, of the same sins that he is guilty of committing. For a while, Joe was in exile in Doral, serving as that City’s town manager. After a stormy tenure in the village bearing the former name of Donald Trump’s golf course, Joe returned to the City of Miami to plot his political comeback.
It’s said you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. In Joe’s case, you can’t return to public life without cracking a few heads. Joe has tried to make Bill Fuller, the owner of Ball & Chain, his arch-enemy, but only succeeded in making the businessman seem like a superhero.
Having charged Fuller with having multiple code violations at his properties, Carollo revealed himself as a code violator who never bothered to pull permits for improvements on his Coconut Grove house.
Now Joe is going after one of his staffers, painting himself as a rabid narcissist. Former Chief of Staff Richard Blom had a long history with Carollo. He was Carollo’s pick for Chief of Police in Doral when Joe was City Manager, outlasting Carollo when he was ousted as the Manager.
Even though he had worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Joe and knew what he was like, Blom accepted the position as Carollo’s City Commission Chief of Staff.
While working for Joe, Blom wrote several letters and emails critical of Carollo’s slash-and-burn management style with the office staff.
The same rule applies to management of personnel. The public records Blom created showed Carollo was a lousy manager.
Blom detailed how Carollo reprimanded office staff in public, often went on “profanity laced rants” went Blom met with people that Joe had a grudge against, and how Joe tasked him with researching Fuller’s properties so that Joe could carry out his vendetta against him. A good parent understands that you praise a child in public and reprimand him or her in private.
When Blom’s letters and emails surfaced, which inevitably happens with public records, Joe went into meltdown mode. Carollo accused Blom of lying about his erratic behavior, producing a signed statement from the office staff saying that Joe was practically a creampuff to work for, and finished by accusing Blom of trying to extort him into giving Blom a cushier assignment.
Carollo also produced a statement by one of his office staff that stated that she felt uncomfortable because Blom had tried to buy lunch for her and other office staffers. The young women alleged that she was suffering “major stress” because Blom was “being nice to me.”
Bill Fuller’s federal lawsuit against Carollo is still ongoing. Fuller is alleging that Carollo’s campaign against him is taking advantage of city staffers, and taxpayer dollars and resources to destroy his businesses. The episode with Blom may provide further evidence of Joe’s instability..
On Chernobyl, HBO showed that the only way that the runaway reactor was neutralized was by burying it in an avalanche of concrete. The only way that the City of Miami can be saved from a runaway reactionary like Joe Carollo is to bury him in an avalanche of votes for who ever runs against him.
Proshchay (Goodbye) Comrade Joe.