“I will always have a special place in my heart for Riviera Beach,” Evans said.
Evans thanked the city employees and the people of Riviera Beach. He got standing ovations and people in the crowd kept asking council to hire him back, even as interim.
“Why are you looking for a new city manager?” One resident asked. “You have a good city manager right here.”
Residents told council they felt like they were not being heard by their own elected leaders.
Councilman Terence Davis, who made the motion to fire Evans for cause on Sept. 20, was not at the meeting. He was called in on the phone but did not respond to questions and eventually hung up.
Mayor Thomas Masters asked that someone on the council should make the motion to hire Evans as the interim city manager.
The motion would have a chance of passing since Davis was absent, breaking the majority of the council who voted to fire Evans.
“People would like to see Jonathan Evans reinstated. Period. I see that," Masters said.
The crowd was with him but not the council.
Council members Dawn Pardo and Lynne Hubbard, who had voted to fire Evans, made it clear they did not want to change their votes.
Councilwoman Tonya Davis Johnson said she would have liked to see Evans back on the job but she knows she is in the minority on the council.
“In a utopian society, it would be ideal to have him come back," Davis Johnson said. "But that’s not our reality.”
Council voted 3-1 with Kashamba Miller-Anderson dissenting, to look at new interim candidates and start the hiring process.
After the meeting, Hubbard refused to answer questions.
Pardo said she would not change her vote and she had her reasons. When asked if she would reveal the reasons why she voted to fire Evans she said she will once the seperation agreement with Evans has been signed.
"People will understand then," Pardo said.
Evans said he did not know what Pardo was speaking about.
“I don’t know," Evans said. "Miss Pardo can certainly communicate that when the time comes but we’re going on 4 weeks and I’m still waiting to hear the reasons why.”
Evans is still asking for a hearing to clear his name.
Meanwhile, the mayor asked Police Chief Clarence Williams to clarify when he will retire. Initially he had said he would retire on December 5 but then rumors spread it had changed to sometime in February.
Williams walked up to the poduim and answered: "I'm not prepared to announce that yet."