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Who is in charge in Pahokee?

Posted at 10:24 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 22:24:19-04

PAHOKEE, Fla. — More firings, more chaos, and more outrage in Pahokee.

There has been unrest in the city for weeks following contentious meetings. But the big question is who is in charge?

In Pahokee, another week, another special meeting. But Mayor Keith Babb's chair is sitting empty as the divide in this city grows larger.

"The current situation right now is a bunch of chaos," said resident Thomas Murvin.

Murvin has lived here all his life.

Last week, three commissioners who now hold the majority voted to officially fire city attorney Bernadette Norris Weeks and interim city manager Rodney Lucas. They also appointed Gary Brandenburg to become the new city attorney.

But the mayor said those votes were cast during an illegal meeting.

"You take Brandenburg that's actually controlling three commissioners telling them how to vote, what to say, when to say it. He's taken total control almost like a dictatorship," Babb said.

But Mr. Lucas, who emptied out his office last week, is still sending city emails and was at a Town Hall Meeting Monday night.

"The city is currently being ran by interim city manager Rodney Lucas. He's running it basically on a satellite basis away from city," Lucas said.

So we asked Brandenburg the same question.

"Well as of ten minutes ago they just hired a new interim city manager his name is Gary Thompson. He's running the city and will be doing so until further notice," Brandenburg said.

A face-off with the city's top leaders. But both men admit Pahokee currently is a city in turmoil.

"In order to move this city forward everything has to be done right and legal," Murvin said.

We're told the legality of these meetings and firings is going in front of a judge in Palm Beach County.

The State Attorney's Office tells me it is aware of many accusations and allegations. We're told it is monitoring the situation along with its public corruption unit.