We left off yesterday discussing the Herald story on the relationship between the City of South Miami and the police chief's wife's tag agency. As we had discussed in the past, it's against the City of South Miami's code of ethics for the city to be doing business with a business owned by family members of a city employee. Simple enough, right? Let's take a look at some excerpts from the article where the people involved try to explain what went on. From the article...
The city has paid Airways Auto Tag about $3,000 for services since 2003.Ok, so here we establish that the city has been doing business with the chief's wife's company, Airways Auto Tag Agency, since 2003 and has spent roughly around $3,000 with the company.
City Manager Hector Mirabile said Martinez de Castro knew nothing about the purchases at the time they were made, and when he found out, immediately told his staff to stop using his wife?s company.Now, does that even sound believable? The chief had no idea his own police department was steering work to his wife's business? While I find that hard to believe, let's give the chief the benefit of the doubt.
She said the chief hasn?t been involved in her business, and that her only intention was to ?help the police officers expedite things quickly.? She regrets doing the transactions.Oh really? Assuming that the chief had no idea what was going on, how would the City of South Miami's police department even know to send work over to his wife's tag agency? She just wanted to help the officers expedite things, yet there was no discussion whatsoever with the chief? Are we to believe when the need for a tag agency arose from the police department that the chief never told any of the members of the PD or anyone in the city that his wife owned a tag agency? That's a bit of a stretch in my opinion.
South Miami Maj. Ana Baixauli has been overseeing the department?s administrative bureau since 2010. She said the chief never asked her to steer business to the agency.Ok, Ms Baixauli, we understand that the chief never told you to steer business to his wife's tag agency, but according to the article, you only started working at the city in 2010, the business relationship between the city and the chief's wife's company had been going on since 2003!
?They saved us time. If our officers would have gone somewhere else they would have had to sit and wait for two to three hours,?
?It was an unintentional error,? said Baixauli. ?I have checked my records and that was the only error I found. We work hard to avoid these types of mistakes, but in the end we are only human.?An unintentional error? Are you sure about that? Somehow I doubt it, that's not how it works. You just can't walk in off the street and start doing business with the City, there's a process involved with becoming a vendor, applications have to be filled out, a vendor number has to be assigned, etc. There's no way this was an unintentional error. More tomorrow...