A new era on Riviera Beach city council?

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - Voters voted overwhelmingly for a changing of the guard on Riviera Beach city council, voting one of the three city council members who voted to fire City Manager Jonathan Evans on Sept. 20 out of office. 

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Julia Botel won the seat on council in part because of her support for Evans. Botel was sworn in during Wednesday’s city council meeting. 

It was supposed to be a new beginning but the honeymoon ended quickly for those hoping for change. 

Many voters said they were hoping for a power shift on council. With Dawn Pardo out of office, the 3-2 majority split on council would be broken up. 

But Wednesday night played out differently. 

“It’s almost like we’re back to where we were,” one Riviera Beach resident said. “Three to two.” 

In the first vote since the new council took office, council voted to make Tonya Davis Johnson chairwoman. 

Then Councilman Terence Davis motion to make Councilwoman Lynne Hubbard the vice chair. 
Hubbard was one of the three votes to fire Evans and is part of a recall initiative. 

Botel and Councilwoman Miller-Anderson voted against Hubbard but then Davis Johnson voted with Davis and Hubbard. 

“We’re back to where we were,” one person said. ”Three to two. Two for what’s right and 3 for whatever.”

Davis Johnson also joined Hubbard, and Davis in two more controversial votes Wednesday night, including a motion over the standards for a new city manager. 

Botel made a motion to increase the requirements for a new city manager, asking for candidates to have governmental experience. 

Council had voted for that requirement to be taken out during an earlier council meeting. 

But Botel’s motion was voted down, 3-2, with Davis, Hubbard, and Davis Johnson dissenting. 

“It always was a 3-2 split,” said Riviera Beach resident Tommy Walker said. “We thought it was going to be a 3-2 our way. But now Tonya Davis (Johnson) has shown her hand.”

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