Jeri Muoio investigation: Muoio accused of appointing members to committee in violation of statutes

Muoio says she 'respectfully disagrees'

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Palm Beach County Inspector General Sheryl Steckler has issued a report detailing an investigation surrounding West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio.

The report states West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio is accused of appointing members to the city's Affordable Housing Advisory Committee even though Florida statutes require that the appointments are to be made by the "governing board" of a municipality by resolution.

According to the report , an anonymous complaint stated that 11 people received appointment letters signed by Muoio on Oct. 13, 2011 in violation of Florida's statutes.

Muoio said in a response that she doesn't agree with the complaint.

"I respectfully disagree...with the inspector general's draft report stating that the complaint is 'supported.' No violation of state law occurred," Muoio said.

Muoio argues that the city of West Palm Beach participates in the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program and that the "state of Florida grants funds to local governments to help provide affordable housing to eligible residents. The purpose of the advisory committee is to assist participating counties and municipalities by making recommendations to the local government regarding its local housing assistance plan."

Muoio said she was called by Steckler's office a week ago about a complaint the inspector general received.

Muoio said the investigation came as a total shock to her and she was surprised and angry about the complaint.

"I want you to know up front that I disagree with the assumptions made in the complaint and we have written a response to the complaint that will be public when the report goes public." Muoio said. She added, "I think it is such a small issue they have latched onto and when you look at all the big things that are happening it is diminimous."

Steckler said that her office does not have the power to fire people.

"That is up to the government. We are fact finders. We determine what happened and we recommend how to cure it," Steckler said.

To read the full report and Muoio's response, click here :

Mayor's Statement Regarding IG Report
"I'm pleased I am now able to speak publicly about the Inspector General's report.

I am not quite sure why the complaint had to be anonymous for such a minor procedural matter regarding a committee that no longer exists.

I frequently receive emails and calls from residents suggesting how we can do things better at City Hall.

Regarding the interpretation of the process, we obviously differ from the Report's conclusions in the respect that ultimately the City Commission did, in the end, approve the names of the individuals.

Regardless, the fact is the process the City did follow was open, honest, public and transparent.

Finally, while I believe there are better ways than the Inspector General to handle complaints about simple administrative procedures, I do understand the importance of transparency in government for which I hold the highest regard."

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