Riviera Beach council hires new interim city manager who has criminal background

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - One month after firing Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans without explanation, the city council hired an interim replacement during Wednesday’s city council meeting, without ever meeting him.

RELATED: More Riviera Beach coverage

James Poag currently works in the city manager’s office in Miami Gardens despite being arrested in 2005 on domestic battery charges. 

What’s on there is that he was arrested for domestic battery and that he is a fraternity brother of Police Chief Clarence Williams. 

Poag was apparently at the city council meeting on Wednesday. 

Chairwoman KaShamba Miller-Anderson said she the decision took her by complete surprise. 
 
“I didn’t come here to hire someone tonight,” Miller-Anderson said on Wednesday. 

But that’s what happened. 

Miller-Anderson said she was still in shock after the meeting, when the three city council members who fired Evans a month ago, suddenly made a motion to hire a new interim city manager. 

Councilwoman Lynne Hubbard made the motion.

Hubbard: “Let’s put this person in place for the…”
Audience member: “No!”
Hubbard: “…for the 90 days.”
 
Most council members had never met Poag. In fact, after the meeting, nobody from the city could even tell me his full name
 
“I figured we would have a number of people to select from, discuss, interview the person, find out what they look like, and then we would make a decision,” Miller-Anderson said. 

Council members Hubbard, Terence Davis, and Dawn Pardo voted to hire him on the spot, without an interview or a background check. 

In 2005, Poag was arrested for domestic battery. 

According to the arrest report, Poag’s then-wife said he placed one hand on her throat and when she tried to defend herself, Poag pushed her to the ground. 

She said she then grabbed her phone, in an effort to call police but he threw the phone into a glass window. 

The report also states that his wife had visible injuries to her neck.

Also according to the report, as Poag was put in the back of the police car, he told officers:  “I can’t believe this is happening to me! I am the Director of Professional Standards for Broward County. Do you know what this is going to do to me? I want all the officers names and badge numbers who were at my house! Do you know who I am? I guarantee that all of you will pay for this.” 

RELATED: The firing of City Manager Jonathan Evans

One of the arresting officers said in his report: “My perception of these statements was that he intended to use his current occupation within the county to take revenge on all of the officers who participated in this investigation.” 

The charges against Poag were later dropped. 

NewsChannel 5 also obtained Poag’s driving record. In 2009 he was issued a criminal citation. According to the crash report he was arguing with his fiancé while trying to park his car, when he lost control and hit an AC unit and a transformer. 

He agreed to pay for damages. 
 
According to his Linkedin page, Poag is a member of Omega Psi Phi, the same fraternity as Police Chief Williams. 

There is no official start date for Poag yet. 

He is put in as interim for 90 days but Hubbard already wanted to make it clear that he could apply for the permanent position after the 90 days are over.

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