On Sept. 20, Riviera Beach council voted 3-2 to fire City Manager Jonathan Evans “for cause”.
“I’m prepared to make a motion, to relinquish and fire the city manager, at this time, for cause for misfeasance,” Councilman Terence Davis said on Sept. 20.
Fast forward to Wednesday night and suddenly Davis voted to spend $65,000 in taxpayer money to pay Evans, as if council fired him “without cause”.
Several city officials said they have either requested or retained outside legal council, after City Attorney Andrew DeGraffenreidt asked them to take the vote to say that they fired Evans “without cause”.
Davis said on Sept. 20 he had proof but wouldn’t go into details.
“So, I will not give the specifics on what was done,” Davis said on Sept. 20. “But there was a series of things that were done that really put this city in a bad position. And we have the documentation and information to also support that information.”
But Davis never said what those reasons were.
DeGraffenreidt sent a memo to city staff shortly after Evans was fired.
“He asked to pay Mr. Evans as if he was fired without cause,” Finance Director Randy Sherman said on Wednesday. “But the record clearly was for cause.”
Evans’ payout for cause would be $14,000. If he was fired without cause it would be $83,000.
Sherman consulted with Human Resources Director Bruce Davis.
“He agreed that the documentation supported that the motion was with cause,” Sherman said.
Because Sherman denied DeGraffenreidt’s request to pay out Evans as if he was fired without cause, the city attorney brought the motion before council.
Chairwoman KaShamaba Miller-Anderson told DeGraffenreidt during the council meeting on Wednesday that she wants an outside attorney to weigh in.
“I felt that you were a little too close to what was going on,” Miller-Anderson said to DeGraffenreidt. “And I sometimes question your legal advice.”
She also said she feels like DeGraffenreidt had a personal agenda since he is friends with former City Manager Danny Jones.
“I feel like you’ve been overstepping and pushing an agenda because of a friend,” Miller-Anderson said to DeGraffenreidt.
Sherman said he, too, had requested outside legal advice.
“Let me put it this way, I have an attorney,” Sherman told council.
Evans attorney, Craig Lawson, said that simply changing the wording of Evans’ firing won’t change the fact that the council members accused him of misfeasance.
“My client continues to state that the allegations against him are completely false,” Lawson said.
Mayor Thomas Masters said he is refusing to sign the resolution to change the wording to “without cause”.
“Because that’s not what happened,” Masters said.