A resident’s legal effort to pry loose documents that explain why Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans was fired in September resulted in no mystery documents Wednesday — just more mystery.
An attorney for the city council, in an email response to a judge’s order, said the “documentation and information” City Councilman Terence Davis referred to was videos and minutes of seven past city meetings.
Unsatisfied with the response, resident Tradrick McCoy said immediately after receiving the email that he would head back to court to force an explanation for the firing or ask the judge to invalidate it based on the city’s alleged violation of the state’s Sunshine Law.
McCoy said “it’s quite obvious at this point” that Davis, who initiated the Sept. 20 firing but never specified why, was making it up when he said from the dais, “we have the documentation and information to support it.” Council members Lynne Hubbard and Dawn Pardo joined Davis in voting to oust the popular manager.
Christy Goddeau, the outside counsel who emailed the response to McCoy Wednesday, declined to comment on pending litigation.
Evans, who had been city manager for just six months, was fired without discussion by a 3-2 vote of the city council. The three who voted against him have since, under public pressure, given vague indications of reasons for their actions but said they were under city attorney advice not to disclose specifically why they voted. Evans’ attorney is in settlement talks with the city.
The city has been in an uproar since the vote, with the council chair attempting unsuccessfully to urge the three to reverse their votes, or bring Evans back as interim manager while seeking a full-time replacement.
Davis asserted only that the popular manager had committed “misfeasance.” Davis subsequently said Evans didn’t do what he was asked to, but the councilman wouldn’t say more than that.
McCoy went to court for the explanation, demanding the city release the public documents to which Davis referred.
Circuit Court Judge Peter Blanc on Tuesday afternoon gave the city 24 hours to respond to McCoy’s request.
The response came 42 minutes before the 4:45 p.m. deadline.
“As stated in the sworn affidavit of Councilman Davis, the public records that are responsive to your clarified request are the same public records that were identified in my Oct. 13, 2017 letter to you,” Goddeau wrote. She cited video and minutes of seven city meetings that took place between March 27 and Sept. 20.
McCoy had said in court that he already had reviewed those videos and that they didn’t provide the explanation sought.
They didn’t satisfy him the second time, either. “I will ask the court to invalidate the vote because the city violated the spirit of the Sunshine Law,” he said Wednesday.
Have a Riviera Beach news tip? Contact Staff Writer Tony Doris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-820-4703.