As the Fire Board Turns

A Treatment

And that, Señor Benabib, brings us to our closing scene. We again see the fingers tapping nervously on the vinyl desktop. The phone rings. The hand picks it up. It is Marilyn calling. CUT TO: Madonna yabbering angrily into the receiver. "Marcia is on a power trip," she says. "If you ever go against her, you're history. You're up shit's creek."

Well, that's about all I could squeeze from my muse in one sitting, Bob-o-rella. As for identifying the person who sent the photographs to Eddy's wife, well, that will have to wait for a future episode. And who knows? Marilyn may file a lawsuit of her own after Marcia recommends her firing.

It's not over, though, Bobby-boy. I have a couple of ideas for the credits. I just love it when you art-cinema guys reveal at the end of the show what happened to the heroes:

Steve Satterwhite
Michael Marko

ANA BALLESTER, no longer a county employee, is suing the fire board, the Miami-Dade fire department, and Miami-Dade County.

JUANA BALLESTER is suing Lloyd and the Miami-Dade fire department.

MARILYN RODRIGUEZ has been reassigned to a job at the fire department.

DONNA BALLMAN is representing Ana in her civil case.

R. DAVID PAULISON remains chief of a department that is now besieged with at least ten lawsuits filed by disgruntled employees.

THE FIRE COMMISSIONERS are suing Miami-Dade County for the right to control tax money. At the same time, the board members are lobbying the Miami-Dade County Commission to authorize $4000 to $6000 for salaries and several thousand dollars in benefits (retroactive, of course) for fire commissioners.

MARCIA FERNANDEZ-MORIN is still the fire board administrator.

MEL MONTES is still earning $50 per hour as a fire board consultant. His contract guarantees him enough work to earn $2000 per month, but caps his pay at $50,000 per year.

EVARISTO MARINA resigned from the fire board in March, less than two weeks after terminating Ana, to run for mayor of Sweetwater. He lost.

LLOYD HOUGH is retired and living in Homestead.

EDDY BALLESTER is a lieutenant and paramedic based at Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Station 3. He is happily married to Orchid, who still doesn't know who sent her the photos of her husband.

Special thanks are in order. Maybe to run in the credits. Something like: "We would like to express our gratitude to those valiant Miami-Dade voters who created the fire board in 1986 and rejected its abolition in 1997. Proceeds from the broadcast of this television movie will be used to help reimburse fire board commissioners for gas mileage."


One last thing, Rob-bob-bobbin'. I must confess: I didn't make this up (except for the stuff in parentheses). The material came from interviews, legal documents, Miami-Dade Police records, personnel files, and an April 1999 report by Carmen Dieguez. Had Dieguez found the harassment or discrimination allegations to be valid, the likely result would have cost the county (i.e., the investigator's employer) large sums of money in legal settlements. Therefore the truth in this case might never be known. Then again, maybe it will.

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