Riviera Beach city manager on the hot seat

Posted at 11:57 PM, Apr 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-26 23:57:40-04

A city commissioner in Riviera Beach now wants the city manager to be suspended for a month with no pay because of what she knew about bacteria in the city's water.

This comes after the city's utility director was fired hours earlier on Tuesday evening.

This fallout follows a Contact 5 investigation that exposed the reports about bacteria and fines never reported to residents.

City Manager Ruth Jones revealed Tuesday night that Riviera Beach is being hit with a new $25,000 fine from the Department of Health for the same chronic issues the Contact 5 investigators exposed nearly a week ago with chlorine levels and bacteria in the city's water. However, Jones may end up being suspended for 30 days without pay because of how she handled a $10,000 fine from February.

"How was he able to get a $10,000 check cut and you not be aware of it?" asked city commissioner Kashamba Miller-Anderson during Tuesday's public meeting.  The question was directed at city manager Ruth Jones who explained she's been aware of the fine since the check was written by the now former water utility director Lou Aurigemma in February.

"It was truly my intention to explain it at the meeting in march because it needed a full presentation," Jones responded during the meeting.

However the March meeting and another in April ended up being cancelled but commissioner Miller-Anderson says there was an earlier opportunity for Jones to bring the city commission into the loop.

"A resident brought up that there was a meeting on February 17th. I pulled up the video we met on February 17," said Miller-Anderson after Tuesday's meeting. She explained that the February 17 meeting was 6 days after the $10,000 check was written.

Which is why Miller-Anderson made a motion to suspend city manager Ruth Jones for 30 days without pay.

"Do you think this could end in Ms. Jones termination?" Contact 5 investigator Jared Werksma asked. "We want to do a full investigation and if more people need to be held accountable then that would be necessary as well," Miller-Anderson replied.

Another special public meeting has been scheduled for next Wednesday to discuss suspending city manager Ruth Jones. We will be there but this story is just beginning. There is still no hint of a fix for the city's water problems. We will continue to investigate.