Eight days after three Riviera Beach city council members voted to fire city manager Jonathan Evans, sources told WPTV about a secret, invitation-only meeting at Hurst Chapel.
Those same sources confirmed those in attendance, including city council members Terence Davis and Lynne Hubbard who voted to fire Evans, talked about the public outcry and how to make sure Evans did not get his job back.
“That’s not at all what happened at the Hurst Chapel meeting,” said Riviera Beach Police Chief Clarence Williams on Friday. “It was a meeting of citizens who attempted to move the city forward.”
That is not what Williams told WPTV immediately after the two-hour-long meeting at Hurst chapel.
Williams: “I don’t know anything about the contents of a meeting. So why would you walk up to the police chief…?”
Former council member Bruce Guyton: “No, he just arrived.”
Williams: “…and ask him a question, I just arrived.”
Reporter: “Oh you just arrived?”
Reporter: “Because we saw you get in earlier.”
Williams: “I’ve come and gone and you couldn’t have seen me.”
In fact, WPTV’s reporter and photographer waited outside of Hurst Chapel during the whole meeting and never saw Williams leave.
Williams also made this claim on Friday:
“My role in that meeting was making certain that the council members were safe,” Williams said.
That contradicts what Chief Williams said on Sept. 28.
Reporter: “So you just happened to be here?”
If Chief Williams provided security detail, there should be a CAD or dispatch number on file. Per policy a CAD number has to be created every time an officer provides any kind of detail. Through that number the agency can keep track of which officer is where and with what equipment.
WPTV requested the CAD number from the night of the Hurst Chapel meeting but we were told that no CAD number exists for that night.
“The persons in that were there and in that meeting would tell you that my function in and out of that meeting or around that meeting had to do with that,” Williams said on Friday.
Several sources who attended the meeting say the chief not only participated in the meeting, he also called and invited people to join the conversation.
Riviera Beach resident Tommy Walker told WPTV in September that he wanted to join the meeting but wasn’t allowed in.
“As soon as they saw me, Chief Williams came over to me. And we stopped right then and I tried to scan the room and see who else was in there,” Walker said. “But he was directly in front of me. So, I looked at him and I said: 'Well, I guess this doesn’t look like a meeting I’m supposed to be at.' And he looked at me and said: 'You're right Mr. Walker.' We shook hands and I left.”
When two or more council members discuss city business it must be in a meeting open to the public or it violates Florida’s Sunshine Law.