Longtime Boynton Beach police Maj. Frank Briganti and Maj. Wendy Unger, the department’s top officers below Chief Matthew Immler, have been terminated, the city confirmed late Thursday.
“I sincerely thank you for your service to the city of Boynton Beach and wish you the best in your future endeavors,” City Manager Lori LaVerriere told the two in letters hand-delivered Thursday to the officers. Copies were provided by the city to The Palm Beach Post.
The letters do not say why the two were dismissed. LaVerriere didn’t return calls to her office and cellphone. City spokeswoman Eleanor Krusell said the city had no comment. Police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater referred calls to the city. Immler did not return a call to his cellphone.
Mayor Jerry Taylor said LaVerriere did not fire the two officers for cause but, rather, eliminated their positions.
“She’s doing some reorganization in the police department,” Taylor said. “I have full confidence in the city manager and I’m sure she’s doing whatever needs to be done there. With the police chief leaving she needs to do some reorganization.”
And, he said: “They’re both great officers and they’re leaving with great recommendations. You hate that, but it’s up to her (LaVerriere).”
Police Benevolent Association President John Kazanjian initially had not heard of the dismissals when first reached by a Palm Beach Post reporter. Later, he said, Briganti and Unger “haven’t reached out for us; however if they’re PBA members, which I’m sure they are, we’ll do anything we can to get their jobs back. That was just wrong they were terminated.”
Briganti, 54, was hired in April 1988; Unger, 51, was hired in December 1989. Both earned $128,708, according to the city’s 2012 payroll. They were the highest-paid city employees behind LaVerriere, who earns $165,000; and Immler, Public Works Director Jeffrey Livergood and Utilities Director Kofi Boateng, each of whom earns $134,672.
A source said this month that Briganti was a leading candidate to replace Immler, who had announced that he was retiring, effective July 12.
At the time, Immler said in a memo that a consultant’s review of his department “has nothing to do” with his decision to retire after 7½ years a chief.
He said at the time no one had seen results of the study, which followed the arrests of five officers during one stretch.
“The department has never functioned more efficiently, we are coming off of a year with a historic reduction in crime and our city manager and the commission are committed to insuring that we have what is necessary to carry out our mission of protecting the community,” Immler wrote.
Taylor also said that, while he did not know for sure, he did not believe that the dismissals were related to the consultant’s study.
Twitter: @alexseltzer; firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @eliotkpbp