Delray Beach city manager suspended for 90 days pending an investigation

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - After listening to more than a dozen residents, and drilling City Manager Louie Chapman Jr. regarding the findings of a Palm Beach County Inspector General investigation, city commissioners voted Tuesday evening to suspend Chapman for 90 days with pay.

City Mayor Cary Glickstein called the special meeting after a general's investigation found that Chapman had mislead commissioners and investigators under oath about a $60,000 purchase of garbage carts. 

Commissioners voted 3 to 1 in favor of the suspension, with Commissioner Adam Frankel casting the dissenting vote.  

Commissioner Al Jacquet was not present at the meeting.

Commissioner Jordana Jarjura’s motion earlier in the evening to fire Chapman failed in a 3-1 vote, with Frankel again voting no.

City rules require four yes votes to fire the city manager.

The general’s report  concluded that Chapman and Lula Butler, community improvement director, mislead commissioners by asking permission in January for $60,000 to purchase garbage carts, although  they had ordered the carts in September.

Butler presented her resignation to the commission before the beginning of the special meeting.

The report further stated that Chapman told investigators that he was unaware the carts were ordered before the commission’s approval in January. When confronted with an email he sent authorizing the purchase, Chapman changed his story and told an IG investigator he should have told commissioners the carts had already been purchased.

Chapman was suspended for 90 days, effectively immediately while the Palm Beach County Inspector General conducts a new investigation into any other violation of just cause in Champman’s employment contract.

If Chapman is terminated with just cause, he would not receive the 20-week severance pay included in his contract with the city.