A town, run by a for-profit company.
Now, after 12 years, at least two Loxahatchee Groves council members say the experiment has failed and many in the community agree.
“We really hoped that this kind of government would work,” Mayor Dave Browning said.
Since 2011, the town is run by a company operated by Bill Underwood. He hired his wife and son to work for the town.
“It’s not an ethics violation because the ethics rules don’t apply to companies,” said Vice Mayor Todd McLendon.
Since it's a private company, the council has no say over who gets hired.
Of the seven employees Contact 5 found on the town’s website, two had a criminal background.
The planning technician had a DUI charge and Underwood’s son, Will, had been arrested seven times since 2006.
Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia complained she knew nothing about the past history of the employees.
“Last year one of these folks got into some trouble and we were never told about it,” Maniglia said. “I have serious issues with that.”
Will Underwood is not only working in the town’s information technology department but also in the finance department. Last year he was arrested for possession of a hash oil, a felony charge.
The judge sentenced him to drug court supervision.
Other charges over the years include several DUIs, probation violation, and knowingly driving with a suspended license.
The town decided to hire another company to provide IT services, but the council has no control over whether Will remains with the Underwood company.
Browning said he’s not sure if Will is going to continue to work for the town through the Underwood company.