RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - They had promised they were going to give their reasons for firing Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans, but the three council members who voted to terminate him did not keep their promise.
Instead, the city council meeting started with the city attorney Andrew DeGraffenreidt, advising the council not to speak on the firing of Evans.
“Anything in this room will be totally irrelevant and will in my opinion only lead to misinformation,” DeGraffenreidt said.
Mayor Thomas Masters and DeGraffenreidt got into a back and forth discussion with Masters arguing that the public deserved to know.
“Here we are two weeks later and we still don’t know what that misfeasance is and why that motion passed and we have a right to know,” Masters said.
DeGraffenreidt said the reasons are not for the public to know and it was the council’s right to fire Evans and they don’t need to give a reason.
“Done deal,” DeGraffenreidt said. “Let me handle it now.”
Councilman Davis, who had filed the motion to fire Evans, said he would follow the city attorney’s advice.
“We must protect the taxpayer’s dollar and the taxpayer positions,” Davis said and received loud booing from the crowd.
Around 300 people disagreed, with many saying that the city was wasting their tax money by firing Evans without reasons and bringing on lawsuits.
“I have hired and fired a number of people in my life and there is a right and a wrong way,” one resident said. “You’ve done it the wrong way with a capital W.”
“We here debating an imaginary allegation that no one is ever talked about,” another resident said. “Nobody has ever talked about it. This is pure insanity.”
Later the council members started debating how to move forward.
Councilman Davis motioned to appoint Riviera Beach Police Chief Clarence Williams as interim city manager. But as soon as he said it, the room erupted once again in loud booing.
The motion was eventually withdrawn.
Council members KsShamba Miller-Anderson, Tonya Davis Johnson and Mayor Masters all said the only way to move forward would be to hire Evans back.
But the three council members who voted to fire Evans said they’re not planning on rescinding their votes.
Mayor Masters also asked Chief Williams for a private meeting. He asked the chief to explain to him why he was at a meeting at Hurst Chapel with a group of those opposing Evans.
“I have some great concerns about that meeting,” Masters said to Williams. “You deserve due process.”
The chief was scheduled to meet with the mayor at 11 a-m on Thursday.