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Riviera Beach city attorney advises council against special meeting to discuss police chief

Posted at 7:42 PM, Oct 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-10 04:32:02-04

Riviera Beach City Attorney Andrew DeGraffenreidt told the council during the last city council meeting not to discuss the reasons for the firing of former city manager Jonathan Evans. 

Now he’s making another controversial move. 

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Sources confirm that when he found out Chairwoman KaShamba Miller-Anderson wanted to hold a special meeting to discuss the future of Police Chief Clarence Williams after the Police Benevolent Association passed a vote of no confidence, DeGraffenreidt told her in no uncertain terms not to do so. 

Only hours after PBA members voted 67-3 to publicly express their “no confidence” in Chief Williams, the City Attorney stepped in to remind both Council and the Mayor that only the City Manager can fire the chief. 

After Council fired City Manager Jonathan Evans, Troy Perry took over as interim city manager, but has expressed he doesn’t wish to be in the position for long.

The vote of no confidence came on the heels of a WPTV investigation that revealed Chief Williams attended an invitation only meeting at Hurst Chapel on Sept. 28 with council members Lynne Hubbard and Terence Davis. 

Sources said the group discussed ways to keep the former city manager from being re-instated. 

Mayor Thomas Masters supported the call for a special meeting for Tuesday evening to discuss the Chief’s actions and the no confidence vote. 

The mayor can suspend the chief but council can overturn his decision. 

“I don’t like to make decisions and they overturn,” Masters said on Friday. “So on Tuesday night, we’ll see what the spirit in the room is. What the feeling is. What the attitude is of the council is to see what they think. Ultimately if suspension will end up on my desk, then we’ll deal with that matter at that time.”

WPTV obtained emails from Riviera Beach Police officers who complained about Chief Williams to city leaders. 

One officer emailed then-City Manager Jonathan Evans that in 2013 he was “approached by a number of members (of the Riviera Beach Police Department) who inquired about a vote of no confidence.”
When he looked into it “a police Sergeant reported to Chief Williams what had transpired.” 

After that, he said, he was overlooked for numerous positions he is clearly qualified for and was eventually demoted from the rank of Sergeant. 

Another police officer emailed Human Resources Director, Bruce Davis (who just recently handed in his resignation without explanation). 

The officer told Davis that his career was stifled by Chief Williams after he was elected as a member of the police union. 

“You must go along to get along or risk retaliation,” the officer said in the email. 

That supports what the union stated as part of their reason for the vote of no-confidence. 

“He rules by intimidation," PBA President John Kazanjian said about Chief Williams on Friday. "If you’re not his little buddy, you’re not getting anywhere.”

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