Port St. Lucie fires city attorney

Posted at 5:51 PM, Feb 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 05:15:18-05

Former Port St. Lucie City Attorney Pam Booker, moments after a 4-0 vote to terminate her Tuesday, said she was disappointed and relieved at the same time.

"A comment was made to me that I’m too strict to the letter of the law and I’m not flexible enough for the politics of the politics and to me that’s a compliment," said Booker.

Mayor Greg Oravec called Tuesday’s special meeting.  A memo he wrote Monday night, said Booker is “a liability to the city” and should be “separated from service”.

“I really don’t want to criticize her or take away from the work that she’s done, but now that we have a strategic plan, we weren’t getting what we needed to move forward," said Oravec.

Booker became city attorney in June of 2014, but had worked on the city’s legal staff since 1997.  After she was fired, Booker cited a number of recent legal victories, including those involving troubled projects like VGTI and City Center.

“I stand firm in my convictions and legal opinions that have been provided to this council," said Booker.

The special meeting highlighted underlying communication issues throughout City Hall.

City manager Jeff Bremer apologized for what he called poor communication between the city administration and council.

“First of all I want to apologize to staff and city council for any embarrassment over actions or inactions that have happened over the past several months," Bremer said from the dais.

Booker said she wasn’t completely surprised by what happened Tuesday but did add she was a "little perplexed."

As council voted to hire a search firm to find Booker’s replacement, the next communication from the ousted city attorney will come Monday in a formal response as the two sides work on a separation package.