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Riviera Beach council suspends the entire charter review committee

Posted at 7:03 PM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 19:08:04-05

On Wednesday, Riviera Beach City Council voted to suspend the entire charter review committee, until council hires a new city manager. When that might be, remains unknown. 

The committee is an advisory board, consisting of volunteer citizens. 

Councilwoman Lynne Hubbard said she wants to see the board suspended immediately. 

“I think the charter review committee is tied directly to the five things that he (former City Manager Jonathan Evans) wanted to see changed,” Hubbard said. 

Chairwoman KaShamba Miller-Anderson reminded her colleagues that the council doesn’t have to accept the proposals by the charter review commission. 

But that did not slow down council members Hubbard and Dawn Pardo, who alleged members of the charter review commission violated Sunshine Law and did not communicate what they were working on with council. 

A member of the commission, Javarious Jackson, disagreed. 

“You guys had plenty opportunities and come and speak with that board and give your recommendations,” Jackson said. “We’ve asked more than once.”

Pardo said the committee was not impartial. 

“They’re not impartial because several of them came up here and scolded three of us for terminating the former city manager,” Pardo said. 

WPTV Political Analyst Brian Crowley said just because these citizens serve on an advisory board doesn’t mean they can’t speak their mind on other issues. 

“They have every right to do that, as long as they’re not doing it as part of their charter review duties,” Crowley said. “It all sounds very petty to me.”

Hubbard said she took issue with the recommendations sent to council.

“They’re upsetting and destroying the very base of our life,” Hubbard said. “That’s what’s going on when you’re tearing our charter apart.”

Jackson said he was surprised by council’s vote, especially since the recommendations were sent to staff members in August. 

"It does feel like retaliation,” Jackson said. “Why suspend the committee now?”

In a city already in turmoil, the suspension of the committee seemed only to fuel the fire.

“What kind of message are we sending our residents?” Rivera Beach resident Tommy Walker asked. 

“If you as board don’t want to hear the voice of this community, then go ahead and ban this group,” Julie Botel said, who is running against Pardo in the upcoming election. 

To many in the community, it felt like the firing of Evans all over again.

“If it doesn’t fit in our realm you get rid of it,” Walker said.  

Miller-Anderson said it was hard enough to find citizens to volunteer their time to serve on the charter review board.