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Once fired city manager returns to familiar role in Riviera Beach

Posted at 11:14 PM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-18 04:38:33-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — A familiar face is back in a familiar role in Riviera Beach. Once fired city manager Jonathan Evans enjoyed his first council meeting since being rehired Wednesday, after being fired nearly two years ago for unknown reasons.

The same people that voted out the council members who fired Jonathan Evans, weren’t shy to show who’s the side they’re on Wednesday night. Between the handful of ovations and signs of support for Evans, there was public comment.

RELATED: Jonathan Evans speaks about returning to Riviera Beach

“We brought you a new council, we the people who voted. We got rid of the people that got rid of you,” Riviera Beach resident Jamie Dixon said during public comment.

One man used his entire three minutes during public comment to lead the welcome back ovation.

Evans return is part will of the people, part fresh start.

“Mr. Evans, welcome back, but furthermore, we have your back!” John Miller, a Riviera Beach resident said during public comment.

“I’ve never experienced something like that and that’s one of the reasons why I decide to come back to this community, because of the sense of pride, sense of respect and the people’s support has been so remarkable,” Evans said in an interview after the meeting.

Between when he was fired in 2017 and now, he was city manager in Madeira Beach near St. Petersburg.

Same job, new year, some getting used to.

“Madam Mayor again, thank you for …” Evans started before getting interrupted by Councilwoman KaShamba Miller-Anderson, whom Evans was referring to.

“You promoted me to mayor,” she said to laughter.

“Oh gosh, I’m still learning. That’s what happens when you leave a job on Tuesday and you start a new job on Friday,” Evans replied with a smile.

Evans is back in that familiar chair, for what he hopes is for good.

“My hope is that residents of Riviera Beach never have to leave this community because we have economic growth, we have restaurants, shops, safe communities, excellent schools, so it becomes the premier community in Palm Beach County,” Evans said later in the interview.

A lawsuit is still pending by two former council members who are saying he should not be allowed to be city manager of Riviera Beach again.