Pahokee commissioners vote 4-1 for firing Pahokee manager

PAHOKEE — At their last meeting almost a month ago, city commissioners voted 3-2 against a move to terminate their city manager, Chandler Williamson. The commissioner who made the motion, Regina Bohlen, was admonished by the city attorney on how the city charter specifies that a charter official (the city clerk and the city manager only) is to be let go.

Pahokee City Manager Chandler Williamson

So on Tuesday night, July 28, Commissioner Bohlen was well-prepared when near the end of the online meeting, Mayor Keith W. Babb Jr. had given his report and proceeded to the agenda category, “Future Agenda Items from Commissioners, if any.”

On her turn, Bohlen said: “I would like to make a motion, as per Section 3.03 of our charter, that we adopt a preliminary resolution to terminate with cause Chandler Williamson for misuse of credit card issues, improper paying of bonuses and giving holidays, and for paying improperly from the grant funds to Technomarine as per the three IG reports.”

She was referring to the findings of the Palm Beach County Office of the Inspector General’s recent investigations and resulting reports issued over the past two years. The last one, in June, contained referrals to the Florida Attorney General’s and Palm Beach County State Attorney’s offices for possible criminal prosecution. Mayor Babb called a special meeting for June 30 to consider the report. It ended in that 3-2 vote against firing the manager; two of the commissioners said they’d rather wait to see what action, if any, the prosecutors would take.

On Tuesday night, Mayor Babb reread Bohlen’s motion, “that we add to our next agenda a request to proceed with the process of terminating the city manager with cause based on the various IG reports. Call for questions.” No one spoke.

The roll call was 4-1: Mayor Babb and Commissioners Bohlen, Benny L. Everett III and Felisia Hill voted yes; Vice Mayor Clara Murvin voted no.

This means a preliminary resolution is to be prepared by the city attorney and presented for consideration at the next regular commission meeting, set for Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m. According to the charter, if the Pahokee City Commission approves that resolution, it gives City Manager Williamson 10 days to file a formal response and request a public hearing before the commission. If he does not do so, then he as a charter official is officially considered terminated after that time.

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