Miller bullying charge against Carroll groundless, county finds

2014-05-06T00:00:00Z Miller bullying charge against Carroll groundless, county findsBy Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Supervisor Ally Miller filed a complaint last month against fellow Republican Supervisor Ray Carroll, accusing him of bullying her staff.

The Pima County Human Resources Department, however, cleared him of any wrongdoing.

The county launched an investigation after Miller filed a complaint on April 15, saying Carroll has a history of harassing her employees, including three incidents within the past couple of months, according to the complaint, which was obtained through a public records request.

Miller also mentioned an incident that occurred last year involving Carroll and a former staff member.

According to the complaint, Miller described Carroll’s behavior as “forceful” and “aggressive,” saying his actions were “unacceptable and bullying needs to be stopped.”

Carroll denied the allegations, and said the complaint was another example of Miller’s paranoid behavior toward the other supervisors.

The most recent incident happened at the April 15 Board of Supervisors meeting, when Joseph Cuffari, a constituent liaison for Miller, told Carroll he saw his daughter’s tattoo on Facebook and said it had “very good detail work.”

In the complaint, Cuffari said he made the comment because he went to high school with Carroll’s daughter and he also liked drawing, designing and tattoo art.

Carroll originally responded in a good-natured manner and said “something along the lines of ‘not being able to control your kids,’” Cuffari said in the report.

However, the two discussed the issue again outside, during a break at the meeting, when Carroll accused the staffer of stalking his daughter and demanded an apology from the Cuffari.

Cuffari apologized. Carroll then told him he should have never taken a job working for Ally Miller and he should “jump ship,” according to the report.

Carroll denied making that statement.

Carroll said he gave Cuffari some career advice before he started working for Miller, telling him he shouldn’t keep moving to different positions within the county. Cuffari previously worked for Wastewater Management and the Clerk of the Board before moving to Miller’s office.

The report states a video camera caught footage of the two men talking outside, where the conversation lasted 33 seconds before they re-entered the building.

Neither Carroll nor the staffer appeared upset after the talk, according to the report.

Cuffari declined to comment for this story. Miller didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Carroll said in an interview he initially didn’t react to Cuffari’s comments, but rather waited until a break during the meeting to talk to him outside.

Carroll was hoping Miller would correct Cuffari for making those remarks, he said.

“I took him outside and said ‘you’re beyond the pale,’” he said. “I said ‘your behavior is unprofessional.’”

The two were involved in another incident on April 1, when Miller claimed Carroll berated Cuffari and another staff member for using video cameras to record each Board of Supervisors meeting.

Miller told Carroll to address his concerns with her if he had a problem with her staff “who are only doing their job as I direct them to do.”

In another incident, witnesses said Carroll had conversation with another Miller employee, Shirl Lamonna, that caused her to break down in tears.

However, the report says Lamonna was having a bad week and Carroll’s actions alone wouldn’t have caused her to cry.

The interaction stemmed from Lamonna’s decision to send an email to constituents, telling them to contact Carroll regarding a contentious zoning case in the Foothills area, which is in Miller’s district.

The report also referred to an incident last year between Carroll and Jennifer Coyle, Miller’s former chief of staff, who had a question about the minutes from a meeting where she wanted to make an appointment to the Pima County Fair Commission.

Overall, the report concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show Carroll tried to create an abusive working environment.

“It’s another exaggerated moment from Supervisor Miller’s office, crying wolf,” Carroll said. “These things are beyond the political realm. She’s a provocateur.”

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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