Recall Tomas Regalado

Four months ago, Miami-Dade voters tossed out Mayor Carlos Alvarez by an overwhelming 88 percent majority. His crimes: handing out minuscule raises, driving a fancy car, and slightly raising taxes. Now he's been replaced by virtual carbon copy Carlos Gimenez.

Thing is, we should have recalled another mayor. Sure, Miami's top man, Tomás Regalado, speaks eloquently en español. And he hasn't yet upped tax rates. But politically speaking, the guy has wreaked havoc like a drunken, locked-out NFL player on South Beach.

In less than two years in office — a third of the time Alvarez served — Regalado has been far worse. He has burned through four city managers — one every six months on average — and enraged black Miami by letting police leadership dodge responsibility after cops killed seven civilians. He has also watched the feds launch a full-blown investigation into whether the city cooked the books. Even worse, Miami's bond rating has plummeted, so taxpayers are sure to take more lumps.

Regalado has even violated his own hiring freeze and handed out six-figure severance payments.

"We're the laughingstock of the nation right now," says Anthony Hatten, head of the city's general employees' union. "With every new story coming out of city hall, I get more and more embarrassed."

Any voter with half a brain should realize by now: We recalled the wrong guy.

Here are ten reasons Norman Braman should have aimed his fury a little farther south, right at Dinner Key.

1. Regalado's Communication Chief Is No Angel

Walfrido Moreno, a frail, grandfatherly, 80-year-old activist, was about to introduce two Cuban rafters who had recently survived an exodus from Havana to a group of gathered journalists when Angel Zayon, a 30-year-old reporter from Telemundo 51, approached the podium.

"You are a coward, not much of a man, and a traitor," Zayon screeched into a microphone. The old man had criticized Zayon's reporting, which was none too complimentary.

In response, Moreno slapped the much younger Zayon across the face. Despite the half-century difference in age, Zayon pressed charges. The old guy did 60 days of community service.

That incident was only the most sensationally crazy moment in Zayon's odd career as a provocateur, failed political candidate, and, as of last month, $70,000-per-year chief of communications for the City of Miami.

Zayon's hiring is all the more troubling because Regalado's city manager not only violated a freeze to bring him on but also waived education requirements to employ a guy with only a high school diploma.

Not absurd enough? Add this: Regalado didn't even fire the acting director of the department, Mario Riquelme, when he hired Zayon away from TV Martí. Instead, the mayor split the tiny department in two, naming Riquelme "director of audiovisual and broadcast operations."

Riquelme makes $95,251. That means more than $160,000 of taxpayer cash goes to two men to oversee eight employees — four TV staffers, one photographer, two media experts, and a secretary — according to city records.

Zayon's resumé didn't get him the job. Sure, he had hosted Cuba al Día on TV Martí and worked at Telemundo and WACC-AM (830), but he lost to Marco Rubio in a bid for the Florida House in 2000 and failed in a run for the Miami-Dade County School Board three years ago.

So maybe Zayon's most important qualification was this: At the mayor's inauguration, Regalado introduced him to the crowd as "Angelito Zayon, my fourth son."

2. He Ignored the Hiring Freeze

To stave off bankruptcy, the city declared a hiring freeze in May 2009, several months before Regalado took office. Emergency operators, two years later, are 27 folks short of their minimum number, thanks to unfilled positions.

Almost every department has had to work short-staffed — except for Regalado and his deputies.

He and his former city manager, Tony Crapp Jr., personally waived the freeze for 23 hires in their offices during the past 16 months, a New Times review found. Crapp also authorized dozens of hires in other departments. Though their actions cost the city hundreds of thousands in salary and benefits, no one can explain what some of the new employees do.

In a recent interview, Regalado presented New Times with a list of what he said were the only hires since the freeze began. It included mostly temps — lifeguards and pool attendants, for instance — and a batch of 30 firefighters.

"There's nothing political," he says. "There are no ghost employees or political hires here."

Alas, when New Times went to the official city records, we found a very different list — one that includes 783 names, not 200.

Subtract temporary hires and there are still nearly 250 new full-time employees who have joined the payroll since May 2009. Some hiring, indeed, seems very questionable.

For example, in early January, Crapp let the city waive the freeze to bring on Madelin Pacheco at a $55,000 annual salary. A former customer service rep at El Dorado Furniture, she was named special projects assistant in the Office of Grants Management. What's that? Crapp's description of her job in a January 11 memo is even more baffling than the title: "She will assist in coordinating and implementing various special projects, work on improving department operations... and overall cost effectiveness."

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30 comments
pirtdab
pirtdab

We don't HAVE to stand for this type of corruption. We can, and deserve to have better.

 For the rest of us who actually CARE about the future of our City and our quality of life,
 HERE is the name you need to know: 

                              JEFF BENJAMIN!

For those of us who live in the City of Miami, and want to see a positive and lasting change in our community; the choice is clear.

Jeff Has been running a grassroots campaign, and has clearly gotten the cold shoulder from every major media outlet in South Florida; yet he still hasn't quit.

Jeff is the most highly educated candidate in the field; holding a PhD in neuroscience. Unlike his opponents, Jeff is not a carrier politician. He has a day job that actually benefits people in our community, in his work with Alzheimer's patients.

Jeff actually has plans to HELP this City grow in a sustainable fashion. His plans for increased affordable public transportation, and the use of energy efficient technology to reduce our carbon foot print while saving taxpayers money; are items untouched by any other candidate out there...and they are just the tip of the iceberg. As you look deeper, you can find that he also has plans to increase trade with the Caribbean, and create thousands of new jobs that will actually provide a decent living wage. He has vowed to root out corruption, by any means necessary; including asking for help from the Department of Justice. -And all that from his page and the few interviews you can find on him.  Imagine if the media did its job to inform the citizenry and actually paid attention to him...

Do the research, get educated, and VOTE November 5th;
for a Candidate you can ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN!
Vote For JEFF BENJAMIN!

Windmichael21
Windmichael21

the most corrupt town in miami dade is bay harbor islands-there has never been spanish commisioner there even though the town is 70 percent latino,let regalato be the chief in bay harbor islands and give him a banana.

Al Crespo
Al Crespo

Police and firefighters call for union votes to recall His Ignorance, Tomas Regalado.

Fire 500 now
Fire 500 now

Tomas Regalado and Johnny Martinez need to reduce pay and benefits for all 4,200 employees immediately. Concurrently, they must fire 500. Reducing the headcount to 3,400 to 3,500 should have been done years ago.

Is Regalado too stupid to know what needs to be done? Is he surrounded by too many idiots?

Sleep walking chump
Sleep walking chump

City of Miami fires it's disgraced CFO Larry Spring. Rookie City Manager Tony Crappola leaves under a cloud taking huge severance checks on his way out the door.

Regalado sleep walks from one disaster to another.

City failing
City failing

Regalado is a bumbling fool. How about the Gucci wearing commissioner Marc Sarnoff? He demands the City pay a policeman to be his chauffeur. Then he gives raises to his cronies.

BeReal
BeReal

This article is a good but I can assure you it is only the surface. The city’s corruption is overwhelming and honestly scary enough to be in the movies. The layers of corruption, mismanagement, bad processes, and backroom deals (to name a few) are massive. Working at the city nowadays is like working in a hostile and violent environment. The corruption starts from as low as employees taking ineligible paid time off (PTO) spending thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to hiring friends and family into $100K+ roles. You point out some interesting names Victor Igwe, Priscilla Thompson, I suggest you get the story straight about Victor Igwe – the only real fact here is that he is African American. You may want to start with his contract; 45 Paid Vacation Day Per Year, Hundreds of accumulated vacation hours, thousands of accumulated Sick Hours, no different for Priscilla Thompson, Julie Brue, to mention a few. Sadly there are “few” good employees (keyword “few”) and unfortunately their efforts are tarnished by the rest of the garbage. There’s no fixing the City of Miami – the culture of corruption is embedded well into its structure.

305soldier
305soldier

You guys had a chance to get him when he was taking gas from a city card for personal use. That was ten years ago, the monster has now grown into miilions in mismanagement and defrauding the taxpayers.

Mayor Corrupt?
Mayor Corrupt?

What's up with Regalado? He is a novice mayor with a low IQ and corrupt friends.

Regalado is a crook
Regalado is a crook

Tomas Regalado and his friends and campaign manager have been raping the taxpayers for years.

Anyone notice Regalado trying to give the Marine Stadium site to his buddy Manny Puch, the shyster lawyer?

Guest
Guest

None of that stuff yoiu mentioned can be pegged on Regal.

Mikeabo
Mikeabo

Only 5 pages this article is way to short

CHARTERREFORMNOW
CHARTERREFORMNOW

Small mind, just because the old County Mayor and the new County Mayor share the same first name, that does not make the new Mayor a "virtual carbon copy" of the old Mayor. Why don't you try researching the issue. If you did, you would find that the New Mayor was the Old Mayor's loudest critic on the County Commission, and not just recently, since 2004 when they were both elected. Really, comments like that really put into question your credibility, assuming you had any to begin with.

El_Bananero
El_Bananero

Regalado has never answered what he did with Torriente's briefcase. You did not mention that in your story.

305soldier
305soldier

Thank you for writing what the Propaganda Herald refuses to. Its a shame that we live in such a clueless city. A city that we allow these crooks to walk in and stuff their pockets with taxpayer money. Only 10 to 15% percent of the population here votes

How do these crooks get elected? pastellitos. Read the http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com...local politician talks about voting scams.

Fcking incredible!!

Regalado bites
Regalado bites

Tomas Regalado has been a total failure as Mayor. The City must reduce pay and benefits to its 4,200 employees. In fact, Regalado must get new novice City Manager to fire over 500 employees with the worst attitudes.

Will Regaldo and Martinez be men and fire 500 slackers?Or will they be cowards?

Miamian
Miamian

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Insiders know how bad things really are and the bloggers are doing a pretty good job in uncovering all the dirt under Regalado's regime. Highly qualified staff are jumping ship or being laid off for not doing the dirty dealings asked of them. That will result in many lawsuits and cost taxpayers. The city is scrambling to find good talent in many department and the cronies are destroying the little good that existed. All of this will have long time repercussions to get the City to bounce back. Tim: Regalado is close to Braman, so in this case, Braman is not the man for the recall. If we wait on that, it will never happen. Braman needs Regalado to build his Kia dealership in Wynwood and who knows where else.

Nan1052
Nan1052

This is an example of why I'm so glad to no longer live in Miami (Mee-ah-mee)

Drake Mallard
Drake Mallard

welcome to the banana republic

nepotism that how you get a job in miami  just ask the city workers

"a college degree does not guarantee a job"

Nepotism in the workplace

Under Florida law, public officials are banned from "appointing, promoting, employing, advancing or advocating for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement in or to a position in the agency in which he serves or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative." For example, if a municipal chairperson recommends or appoints his daughter for a clerical position in his office, then he is running afoul of Florida nepotism law

Under Florida law, the legal definition of what constitutes a relative for the purposes of nepotism in public employment is clearly defined. In fact, the law provides a laundry list of familial labels that constitute nepotism. These labels are "father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother or half sister.

Jhonny Seafood
Jhonny Seafood

uhh if memory serves me correct Teele shot himself in the NEW TIMES lobby

DaGuerre
DaGuerre

Angel Zayon is 30 years old? Better check that.

loveboat2010
loveboat2010

Thanks to people like you this just may happen, a small but meaningful dent on the banana republic..

Epw101
Epw101

Did you even read the article?? Employees are not even mentioned in the story.... Move on already... We were decimated last year to the turn of over 25% per employee....

Julian Munoz
Julian Munoz

Greed and corruption are an American pastime! The "me" culture is what helped construct the fable story of an American Dream.

Jose D. Duran
Jose D. Duran

Teele shot himself in the lobby of the Herald building after talking with DeFede over the phone, who taped the conversation without Teele's knowledge and was subsequently fired from the paper for doing so.

seep
seep

Memory does not serve you correct(ly).

 
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