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Boynton Beach removes 2 officials after mural altered to remove black faces

City manager terminates public arts manager, agrees to part ways with fire chief
Posted at 6:27 PM, Jun 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-06 23:33:22-04

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Two Boynton Beach officials have lost their jobs after an art project in the city was altered to replace the images of two black former fire chiefs with white faces.

City Manager Lori LaVerriere said in a statement Saturday that she has terminated public arts manager Debby Coles-Dobay and removed Matthew Petty as chief of the Boynton Beach Fire Rescue Department.

Hours later, LaVerriere said she and Petty "agreed that it is in the best interest of the city of Boynton Beach that we mutually separate employment."

According to the Palm Beach Post, the shake-up comes after a public mural that depicted the images of two black former fire chiefs was painted over with white faces.

"The decision made to alter the artwork that was approved by the Public Arts Commission was wrong and disrespectful to our community," LaVerriere wrote. "Every employee in the city of Boynton Beach works for its community. As a leader, I have been very clear that I will not tolerate any employee to be disrespectful, in any shape or form, to any members of our community."

LaVerriere called the decisions "difficult but necessary."