Expert weighs in on firing of Riviera Beach city manager

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - The time is running out for officials with the City of Riviera Beach to come up with reasons as to why Council Members Terence Davis, Lynne Hubbard, and Dawn Pardo voted to fire City Manager Jonathan Evans.

A judge ordered the defendants to respond to a lawsuit, demanding those answers, by no later than Wednesday at noon. 

On Monday, Tradrick McCoy, who filed the lawsuit, was told by the city clerk that documents, pertaining to Evans’ firing, were ready for him to pick up.  When he got there, the clerk said the city attorney had intercepted them.

First Amendment lawyer Florence Snyder said the city should have revealed the reasons immediately. 

“It is utterly and completely unreasonable,” Snyder said. “There are always public records after a city manager gets fired. And the city attorney should not be reversing that decision and playing keep-away. The taxpayers have every reason in the world to know why their city manager was fired. They should not have to beg for an explanation. They should not have to file lawsuits. And you have to wonder, why Riviera Beach is willing to spend taxpayer dollars on something this frivolous and this insulting to their constituents.” 

Snyder also talked about the meeting at Hurst Chapel on Thursday night, which was held by a small group of people opposing Evans. 

Chief Clarence Williams was at that meeting, as well as council members Terence Davis and Lynne Hubbard.

“It always raises suspicion,” Snyder said. “Public entities are supposed to conduct city business in public.”

Davis and Hubbard were never in the room at the same time, in order not to violate Sunshine law. Sources tell NewsChannel 5 that Chief Williams made sure the two were never in the room at the same time. 

Snyder said if the chief acted as a conduit between the two council members, that would be a violation of the open meetings law. 

The next council meeting is on Wednesday. Councilman Davis promised he would reveal his reasons for firing Evans then.

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