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'We're right back where we were': Riviera Beach voters not happy with new vice chair

Posted at 7:15 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 05:13:31-04

After last week’s election, voters in Riviera Beach were hoping for a power change on council, but the honeymoon didn’t last long. 

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“It’s almost like we’re back to where we were,” one Riviera Beach resident said.

Several controversial decisions were made during Wednesday night’s city council meeting.

The two newly elected council members, Julia Botel and KaShamba Miller-Anderson, were outnumbered once again. 

The first order of business was to vote for a new vice chair person. 

Councilman Terence Davis nominated Councilwoman Lynne Hubbard as vice chair. 

Davis and Hubbard voted for it, Botel and Miller-Anderson against it. 

It came down to Chairwoman Tonya Davis Johnson to break the tie. 

She voted with Hubbard and Davis. 

“It always was a 3-2 split,” Riviera Beach resident Tommy Walker said. “We thought it was going to be a 3-2 our way. But now Tonya Davis has shown her hand.”

Hubbard is one of two council members a group of citizens wants to recall and get out of office, for their vote to fire the city manager on Sept. 20.

On March 7, when a resident asked Hubbard for an apology for allegedly calling her a racist, Hubbard reacted like this.

“You apologize out of one side of your mouth and lie out of the other side of your mouth. And I mean that. And I’m not taking that back.”  

Hubbard, Davis and Davis Johnson also voted against changing the criteria for city manager Wednesday night. 

Botel had motioned to increase the standards, requiring government experience again after council voted to change the standards last month. 

Hubbard claimed that never happened. 

“That was never said,” Hubbard said. 

But Hubbard stated on Feb. 7 that corporate experience is just as valuable as government experience and government experience should not be a requirement. 

That motion passed on Feb. 7 with Davis, Hubbard and former council person Dawn Pardo voting in favor of it. 

Hubbard said Wednesday, instead of changing the criteria again, council members should simply not suggest unqualified candidates.  

“If you find someone who only has cooperate experience, didn’t go to an accredited university, by all means, one would not expect that application to be forwarded to the HR director,” Hubbard said.

One would not expect that, but that’s what Hubbard and Davis did on Feb. 7 when they voted to make Lydia Smith, who has no government experience, the city manager. 

Smith did not end up getting that position.