Fast Talk and a Cafecito saves the day!

Lester Sola always seems to have just finished one of many cafecitos. He talks fast and moves quicker. Lester is the Supervisor of Elections for Miami-Dade County. It is a job that has taken down more than a few bureaucrats during the last decades or so of election turmoil in South Florida.
Actually Lester is a pretty smooth dog. He has been around the mine fields of county government for sometime. Read his bio on the county website and you see that he’s dipped into the very bowels of county government, the airport, minority-based procurement programs, a county consultant to such projects as expansion and construction at the Seaport, Airport, Performing Arts Center, and the American Airlines Center. Always in he background, now in probably one of the highest profile jobs in South Florida
Sola has been through the debate on electronic voting machines and optical scan machines, oversees a $20 million dollar budget, a staff of 121 and scads of part-timers hired to help out during the 30 some elections held every year.
So when candidates and incumbents in the Miami City Commission Elections started getting calls about wrong absentee ballots Lester knew exactly what to do.
Lester called the media, invited in the TV cameras as his computer team straightened out the mistake., right there on camera. What had happened? A human error while encoding a computer program. Bottom line, the correct envelopes reached the voters but the ballots were wrong. District Two ballots went to district one absentee voters and vice versa.
Incumbents Marc Sarnoff and Angel Gonzalez cried foul, got critical, Gonzalez hinted at the possibility of a conspiracy, Sarnoff was concerned about of the oversight and both schedule a press conference. Guess who else was there? Lester Sola.
By the time the two incumbents had their say the wind was out of their outraged sails. Lester had explained the problem, said there would be discipline, described how the error occurred, explained how incorrect absentee ballots would be rejected by electronic bar code and how voters would have a new and correct ballot by three days after the error was discovered. All that before Sarnoff and Gonzalez got to the microphone.
Lester had turned the mistake into what news reporters call “a one day story.” It was over. No comment from County Mayor Carlos Alvarez nor County Manager George Burgess.
A good bureaucrat knows how to diffuse and ugly situation especially when politicians are on the hunt for a scalp. Lester has been around the race track, he knew what to do, go public.


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