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Still no reason given for firing of Riviera Beach city manager

Posted: 11:14 PM, Sep 20, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-06 11:24:11-04
Still no reason given for firing of Riviera Beach city manager

Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans was fired Wednesday night after council members voted 3-2 for his removal.  Evans had only been on the job for six months.

Councilman Terence Davis, who filed the motion to remove Evans for cause, told the other members of the city council that there were multiple reasons but would not name them.

Davis said his job is to protect the city not the city manager, saying there were things that the city manager "was asked to do, that he did not."

Despite the lack of details as to why Evans should be fired, the motion passed 3-2, supported by Council members Lynne Hubbard and Dawn Pardo. Both did not respond to requests for interviews. 

Council members Tonya Davis Johnson and Kashamba Miller-Anderson both voted against firing Evans. They and the mayor said the whole thing came as a shock to them.

"It's wrong," Mayor Thomas Masters said. "It's embarrassing and it's hurtful to the city. I feel the city is in a state of turmoil."

On Thursday, Evans was cleaning out his office and was still confused as to why he was fired.

"I don't know why," Evans said. "It was shocking to me, because I would have expected that, if there was an issue in terms of job performance, that that would have been communicated with me in advance."

Davis said several people in the community had given him information that fueled his decision to file the motion to fire Evans. Once again, he declined to disclose that information. 

Evans is the second city manager in Riviera Beach to be fired within a year. The last one served for nine years. 

"It doesn't take nine years to determine if someone is bad for the job," Davis said. 

Wednesday night's meeting was scheduled to be a budget discussion, but Evans' employment status was brought up.

The mayor said days before the meeting, he received calls from the public asking him if the rumors of Evans' firing were true.

"I said to them: 'Where are you getting that from?' " Masters said. "They told me that's the talk on the street."

That's why the mayor asked at the beginning of the meeting on Wednesday if anyone was planning to bring up Evan's employment.

"They looked at me like I was talking to a wall," Masters said. 

But then, at the end of the meeting, Davis did bring the motion forward. 

Those opposed to Evans's firing are still in shock. 

Davis Johnson says, "I am sad for citizens, sad for employees and most of all sad because he was working toward improving the conditions in our city."

Miller-Anderson added, "He was the best city manager that we've had in a very long time. It's all about personal agendas, and it has nothing to do with his performance."

Last month, mold was reported at several city buildings.

Evans' employment status was addressed at that meeting as well, but he said he was confident in his job. The council asked Evans for a report on how they were going to move forward, but there's no word if that contributed to last night's decision.

Masters was a vocal proponent for Evans and asked council members to postpone the vote until a later date because the online stream, of the meeting, was down.

Troy Perry will take over in an interim basis.