Did Riviera interim manager give self a big raise without official OK?


Barely six months into the job, City Manager Karen Hoskins has given herself and at least two other Riviera Beach officials substantial raises the city’s finance director says are way higher than the compensation schedule the city council implemented April 1.

According to a memo Thursday from Finance Director Randy Sherman to the mayor and city council, Hoskins gave herself an $18,000 raise, to $168,000, to which she was not entitled. She also approved an improper $25,201 raise to Community Court Program Manager Felicia Scott, who is married to Council Chairwoman Tonya Davis Johnson.Human Resources Administrator Eureka Irvin, promoted to Human Resources Director in April, saw her salary soar from $65,155 to $133,673. Under the approved schedule, she should be earning $102,524, Sherman wrote.

Hoskins, responding with her own memo, disputed Sherman’s calculations and demanded that he document his position.

“As a 30-year public servant to this city, I take your concerns very seriously,” she wrote. “I have no intent whatsoever to do anything that would impugn my integrity, or that of the city, or accept anything that I am not contractually entitled to receive.”

Hoskins served as Sherman’s assistant finance director before being named interim city manager Nov. 6, following the council firing of City Manager Jonathan Evans. As state law only allows someone to serve as interim manager for a limited period, the council named her City Manager on Dec. 6 while continuing its ongoing search for a permanent city manager.

Chairwoman Davis Johnson said late Thursday afternoon she had not had time to read Sherman’s memo. “I’m really concerned,” she said though a spokesperson, adding that she’ll get to the bottom of it.

The dispute comes at a time of continuing turmoil in Riviera Beach.

The official hired to oversee construction projects in Riviera Beach, Ladi A. Goldwire, was arrested Monday on a state charge of falsely holding herself out as a licensed building official. She faces up to a year in jail.

Many key city jobs have gone unfilled for months.

The city council fired City Manager Evans last September with little explanation, after six months on the job. His job remains unfilled, except on a temporary basis by Hoskins. 

Evans filed a complaint last month with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging his firing was retaliation for his initiating an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by a former interim city manager, Danny Jones, and former public works director Brynt Johnson. 

Those allegations that spawned a civil suit against the city and the two men.Articles in The Palm Beach Post in October documented excessive spending and travel by city council members. One, longtime incumbent Dawn Pardo was voted out of office in March by an 80-20 margin and two others, Lynne Hubbard and Terence Davis, face a recall petition by residents, an effort currently in court. 

The council last month voted to rescind the $12,000 annual Utility District stipend it had awarded each member and the mayor, one of the extraordinary expenditures documented by The Post.


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