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Riviera Beach charter changes proposed after city manager fired in 2017

Posted at 4:33 AM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 06:15:55-05

More than a year ago, three Riviera Beach city council members voted to fire City Manager Jonathan Evans without explanation, pushing the city into turmoil.

Now, the charter might be changed as a result.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: A City In Turmoil | More news from Riviera Beach

The charter review committee presented its proposal to the council on Wednesday and if passed, the new charter would prevent what happened with Evans from repeating itself.

The proposed changes include:

  • Council members need to present the reasons for the removal of the city manager
  • Council needs a super majority of four instead of three votes
  • The city manager may ask for a public hearing
  • Council must present the resolution to the city manager prior to the firing

The proposal is a clear reaction to the firing of Evans, addressing almost every issue community members have brought up since he was fired on Sept. 20, 2017.

Three council members, Terence Davis, Lynne Hubbard and Dawn Pardo had voted to fire Evans.

The move came as a surprise to many in the community, since Evans had only been on the job for six months and had been popular with many.

The vote wasn’t on the agenda that night and was brought up at the end of the meeting when the majority of the public had gone home.

Evans was also never allowed to have a name clearing hearing.

Council member Terence Davis had made the motion to fire Evans for cause and for misfeasance, but never explained what Evans supposedly did.

Even when the public demanded answers for months on end, Davis not explain the reasons.

To this day the city doesn’t have a permanent city manager.

That brings us back to Wednesday’s special meeting, which was meant to serve as the first reading for the charter amendments. But after more than three hours, council did not make a single decision.

Now, the first reading will be held on Dec. 5.

The council needs to complete the reading in order to meet the deadline for the amendments to be part of the March ballot. If not, a separate election might be called, which would cost the taxpayer $80,000.

“Eighty-thousand dollars is a lot, but it won’t break the city,” Mayor Thomas Masters said.

There are several other changes in the proposal, including limiting term limits and the powers of the mayor.