RIVIERA BEACH, Fl - James Poag, who was appointed at Wednesday’s Riviera Beach City Council meeting, will not assume the position he was offered.
The announcement comes a day after WPTV aired a story about Poag’s background, highlighting an arrest for domestic battery in 2005 and a hit-and-run crash from 2009.
WPTV did a background check on Poag, something the city council did not do before offering him the job at a public meeting on Wednesday.
In an email to the City, Poag writes" In light of recent reports regarding my possible employment with the City of Riviera Beach, I fell that I need to set the record straight. While I have been offered an interim position and City Manager, I have not and will not accept the position. I am honored to have been considered for the role but have decided to remain with the City of Miami Gardens.
During the media's investigation of how and why Riviera Beach came to its decision, aspects of my past personal life were also reported. I deeply regret my past actions and have worked tirelessly to correct them and move forward with my life in a positive manner. My personal life has no bearing on my competency or career. I wish Riviera Beach the best of luck in their search for a City Manager and I will remain a dedicated public servant."
The City council voted 3-2 to hire Poag who currently works for the city of Miami Gardens.
The vote came as a surprise to many of the people in attendance, including council chair Kashamba Miller-Anderson.
Miller-Anderson said she was still in shock after the meeting, when the three city council members who fired City Manager Jonathan Evans a month ago, suddenly made a motion to hire a new interim city manager.
Councilwoman Lynne Hubbard made the motion.
Most council members had never met Poag. In fact, after the meeting, nobody from the city could even tell WPTV his full name.
“I figured we would have a number of people to select from, discuss, interview the person, find out what they look like, and then we would make a decision,” Miller-Anderson said.
Council members Hubbard, Terence Davis, and Dawn Pardo voted to hire him on the spot, without an interview or a background check.
According to the 2005 domestic battery arrest report, Poag’s then-wife said he placed one hand on her throat and when she tried to defend herself, Poag pushed her to the ground.
She said she then grabbed her phone in an effort to call the police but he threw the phone into a glass window.
The report also states that his wife had visible injuries to her neck.
Also according to the report, as Poag was put in the back of the police car, he told officers: “I can’t believe this is happening to me! I am the Director of Professional Standards for Broward County. Do you know what this is going to do to me? I want all the officers' names and badge numbers who were at my house! Do you know who I am? I guarantee that all of you will pay for this.”
Prior to working for Miami Gardens, Poag held a job at the Village of Wellington and WPTV has learned today that he was fired from that job.