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Riviera Beach almost hires city manager in heated meeting

Posted: 7:21 PM, Feb 08, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-09 09:16:31Z

The division on the Riviera Beach City Council was on full display during Wednesday’s city council meeting. 

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Councilman Terence Davis questioned Chairwoman KaShamba Miller-Anderson’s qualifications. 

"People said you're not experienced and I always supported you,” Davis said. 

That exchange promoted Vice Chair Tonya Davis Johnson to call for a five minute recess. 

"That's the truth,” Davis said as he walked out of the room. “You don't like it. You don't like the truth."

People in the audience told Davis he was acting like a child as he walked out and engaged in arguments with audience members. 

"There is lack of respect he gives to residents,” said a Riviera Beach resident during her public comment.

While two residents came out in support of Davis, many others said they’ve had enough.

"We voted for him,” said Riviera Beach resident Erika Davis. “And he's just out of control. And it's time for him to go."

The agenda was to discuss recruiting efforts for the city manager’s position. Miller-Anderson and Davis Johnson felt the six finalists for the position were not qualified enough.

"I wasn't overwhelmed,” Davis Johnson said.

Councilwoman Dawn Pardo said she felt the candidates were highly qualified. Some citizens asked council to wait after the March 13 election to hire a new city manager. 

Davis then made a motion to say candidates are not required to have any government experience. 

That motion passed with Miller-Anderson and Davis Johnson dissenting. 

Then, out of the blue, Davis made another motion. 

"I'm going to nominate Dr. Smith,” Davis said. 

Loud gasps could be heard in the audience as Davis made the motion to hire Smith, who hadn’t even applied for the position. 

Hubbard seconded the motion but then Pardo said she felt like council shouldn’t make a rash decision. 

Davis then withdrew the motion. 

Miller-Anderson said she felt it was a clear agenda to push Smith in as a new city manager.

“Considering what took place prior to that motion being made, it was a second way to get in the person who they were looking for,” Miller-Anderson said. 

Smith was one of two finalists for the interim city manager position, but lost against Hoskins after council felt like she didn’t have the experience necessary. 

Smith has no government experience and a degree from a for-profit university.