Kim Briesemeister, who resigned last week as the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency director, did not violate state ethics rules this summer when she proposed hiring a former West Palm Beach employee who worked for her private management firm, Florida Commission on Ethics staff say.
The commission is set to vote on the matter at its Sept. 13 meeting in Tallahassee.
In the commission staff’s draft opinion Aug. 8, commission staff said the situation caused “no prohibited conflict of interest.”
Briesemeister planned to hire Shawn Mitchell, who’d previously managed CRA finances for the city’s finance department, to help prepare the CRA’s 2013-2014 budget.
Mitchell works for Metro Strategies and Redevelopment Management Associates, two Broward County companies run by Briesemeister. The companies contract with the Broward County cities of Dania Beach and Pompano Beach, respectively.
The city and Briesemeister said that, if the city hired Mitchell, Briesemeister, in her role as CRA director, would be blocked from working with him, evaluating him, or approving any payments to him.
In a July 11 letter, city ethics officer Norman Ostrau, the city’s ethics officer, and Robert Meyers, a private attorney representing Briesemeister, asked the commission to opine.
“Nothing in the materials you have provided suggests that the executive director’s companies’ performance of these services would tempt her to dishonor her public responsibilities with respect to the city of West Palm Beach,” the Aug. 8 letter said.
Briesemeister resigned as CRA director on Aug. 26, saying she wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, because the city has solicited applicants to privatize CRA operations and Briesemeister’s RMA plans to apply.