Over 500 people packed into the New Birth Baptist Church at last night's standing-room only meeting of the NAACP's Miami-Dade branch. They were there to interrogate Miami-Dade schools superintendent Rudy Crew and members of the school board (although only Martin Karp and Robert Ingram showed up), and to hear ousted Miami-Dade transit director Roosevelt Bradley give his side of why he was fired.
By the time Bradley took the podium it was nearly 10 p.m. Nodding down a standing ovation he adjusted his microphone and began a point by point response to Saturday's Herald article , "Trouble Was Brewing Before Director Ousted."
Bradley claimed he balanced the budget every one of his four years in office, in spite of an increase in gas prices and the affects of the hurricane. The department's deficit, he said, was inherited, and a plan to sell transit-owned property in South Dade would have eliminated it.
As to the charge of nepotism, Bradley said: "My mom has nine kids. My aunts have 13 or 14 kids. We could have a party without inviting anyone. I have no kids, brothers, or sisters working for transit. My mother and father are dead. I have one cousin working for transit, and he was working before I became director. He was promoted because he did a good job."
He said the Herald's charge that his cousin "created a hostile work environment with female employees he supervised" stemmed from an incident where the employee was calling the cousin "Names that were not his name that I can't say because the bishop is in the room," referring to the church's pastor.
To the charge he mishandled the $84 million Metrorail supercontract (to extend the line to the north quarter, the airport, and down Tamiami Trail): "The board said you get $44 million and you'll get the rest when you propose a viable project. Then they said you can't spend the $44 million. You have to spend $25 million first. If you get the project up and running you get the other $19 million." He said that all the plans for the Metrorail lines are ahead of schedule. Responding to charges that he was favoring certain businesses, he contended that the project's consultant failed to abide by a rule that demands 25 percent of contracted businesses be small ones. Bradley says he cited the consultant to "get it right or be in non-compliance."
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"They were cited aggressively and had to go out and get small businesses," he said. "Every business was bona fide and certified by the county. Some of the paperwork wasn't done, but it was done by the book."
"So what's the problem?" he asked to the crowd. "You're black!" they answered.
"This is character assassination," Bradley said. "It took me 30 years to get to this spot and I'm not going to lose it lying down." And to another standing ovation, he descended from the podium. --Emily Witt