Cooper City Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi's textbook example of how not to handle a public relations nightmare continued last night at a city workshop meeting.
I've seen a lot of politicians say a lot of questionable things, but Mallozzi saying "blow me" to an 81-year-old resident in the audience during a city commission meeting on January 8 is high on the list. But what really made that mess stand out was the fact that Mallozzi refused to publicly apologize for the obscene comment. In fact, she wouldn't even admit she made the comment (though it was plainly on the commission meeting video). One resident, Bob Sands, called Mallozzi and said she tried to convince him that she said she needed to blow her nose.
At the commission meeting this Tuesday night, Mayor Greg Ross and others practically begged Mallozzi to apologize since it reflected so poorly on the city and had upset numerous residents.
"There's no excuse for what happened here," said Commissioner James Curran, who was clearly steamed about it. "All I've heard about on the soccer field at the grocery store everywhere I go is the comment, the comment ... what happened here is a disgrace."
Yet Mallozzi still refused to apologize. She just looked out to 81-year-old Gladys Wilson, to whom she had directed the lewd remark, and said, "Miss Wilson, you and I had a conversation, are we good?"
From the audience, Wilson said rather sarcastically, "Good as we'll ever be." Then she got up to address the commission and let Mallozzi have it, saying, "I am utterly utterly disgusted."
Then last night, Mallozzi, at a much less-attended workshop meeting, the commissioner finally apologized. Mallozzi began with an awkward attempt to again connect with Wilson in the audience, saying, "Gladys, do you like my hair?" Then she said that the mayor had made her rethink the whole situation. Here's what she said:
"I would like to take a moment to publicly apologize for my comment a few weeks ago. I did not feel well that night and the discussion became heated. I temporarily lost my bearing, however I know this is no excuse for my comment. I understand our mission as leaders of the community and as role models. In my six years of tireless dedication to public service and total devotion to our city I have accomplished much for our community. I promise you will not see me falter in this way again and I look forward to continuing to serve you in the same positive manner as I have in the past. Are we good Gladys?"
Wilson told me she was satisfied, but didn't appreciate the self-serving remarks in the middle there.
"I'm over it," she said. "I'm done with it."
And she said she was in fact happy with Mallozzi's hair, which was freshly pulled back at the meeting.
"She usually has it hanging down on both sides and you can't even see her face," said Wilson. "It looked terrible and people constantly complained about it. I told her, 'You must pull your hair back from your face and look more professional.' And last night she pulled it back and it looked very nice. Something had been done with that mop and it took ten years off her age."
Call it all a step forward for Cooper City.