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Pahokee Commission meeting erupts into screaming match

Commissioners who sought to oust city attorney get their wish
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Posted at 9:58 PM, Jul 19, 2021

PAHOKEE, Fla. — Pahokee Commissioner Sara Perez is heated.

"I won with 65% of the votes and I'm doing what the citizens that supported me wanted me to do," she said.

She's unhappy because Mayor Keith Babb adjourned Monday night's commission meeting just as it fell into chaos.

"This happens every week," she said. "That's why we could never get no business done."

Here's why things went haywire at the meeting. Commissioners Perez, Juan Gonzalez and Regina Bohlen decided they wanted to terminate the contract of City Attorney Burnadette Norris-Weeks.

The three commissioners got their wish. But the issue with many residents is Perez and her husband is suing the city in two different legal actions.

"The one that she's talking about is from 2018," Perez said. "The city keeps postponing for legal reasons."

To be clear, the city attorney wasn't working with the city in 2018.

Residents who spoke with WPTV off-camera believe this has everything to do with race. Others said Perez should have recused herself from the vote because it's the city attorney who is dealing with her lawsuit. Perez refused.

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"What's going on tonight is a shame and it's sad," Jason Crawford said.

When asked why they want to fire the city attorney, all three commissioners refused to respond.

The city attorney did speak.

"I'm fortunate tonight that you all are not here at least bashing my reputation, because I know I've done nothing wrong," Norris-Weeks said.

Soon after the meeting was adjourned, the chaos followed outside into a screaming match.

The city attorney's contract has been terminated. Whether she'll work through her 90-day grace period is a whole other issue.