RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - Residents of Riviera Beach are fighting city council’s controversial decision to fire their city manager.
Last week Jonathan Evans was voted out 3-2, and the only reason given to the public was malfeasance (wrongdoing by a public official), but no examples were given.
On Monday night, there was about 150 people who attended a community meeting that organizers labeled a call to action.
The passionate meeting all centered around the question: Why did Riviera Beach city council vote to remove their city manager Jonathan Evans just six months on the job?
“But when the shoe doesn't fit, and the glove doesn't fit, then you must acquit. That is wrong!” one resident said to the crowd.
WPTV's tried to reach the three people who voted to fire Evans: Dawn Pardo, Lynn Hubbard and Terrance Davis. We sought to ask them specifically why they wanted Evans out of office, but those questions have been met with silence.
In a surprise, Evans showed up Monday night, teary eyed. The community’s support unquestioned.
“Jonathan, Jonathan!” the crowd chanted at one point.
Many in attendance are unsatisfied with the lack of response from their elected officials. Now, there is a grass roots effort to petition enough signatures to rescind last week’s vote and recall at least one of the three who voted to end Evans’ tenure.
“I can’t process that if you do everything that your asked to do, and you do it the right way, that you would find yourself in this kind of predicament,” Evans told the raucous crowd.
NewsChannel 5 learned exclusively, through a records request, as to why at least Pardo and Hubbard might have voted to sack Evans. In emails, Evans asked for an internal investigation into Hubbard’s and Pardo’s use of public money on private property.
“I don’t know, that’s probably a question better suited for them to answer,” Evans said when we asked him if the call for an investigation led to his firing.
“If that was the issue, that councilperson could have had a conversation with him about it, so that (Evans) could address that,” councilwoman KaShemba Miller-Anderson said.
Miller-Anderson was one of two council members who voted in support of Evans.
“I still don’t know. That’s a question you have to ask whomever that email was pertaining to,” said Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters, who doesn't have a vote. He has supported Evans from the beginning.
The petitioners, once they get their first signature, have 30 days to get 3,000 registered voters to sign. At that point, the councilperson in question would have a chance to respond.