Pahokee commissioners must fire manager

Guest Commentary
By Bobby Colvin

Dear Pahokee Mayor Keith Babb Jr.:

Though there are many issues on which I would like to comment, due to limited time, I will concentrate my attention to the legal and criminal issues involving our city manager. I was extremely disappointed in the last meeting that the commission did not see the urgency to terminate him, before he can do more damage to our city.

On a number of occasions during the past 21 years, thanks to well-placed game cameras and excellent pictures of criminal activity, the sheriff’s office has been able to arrest individuals that have stolen from my grove. In every instance, a deputy has asked me if I wanted to prosecute, and I have always answered in the affirmative. That affirmation started the process by which the state brought formal charges that led to some of these individuals serving serious jail time.

In the last meeting, some on the commission wanted to wait to see what the state attorney would do before taking action against the city manager. To me this is totally backward. Three IG reports show that he has recklessly misappropriated $125,000.00 and stolen another $20,000.00. After being caught, he has repaid less than one third of the stolen money, but with no interest. Most credit cards have an interest rate of 1% per month or more.

A motion to terminate the city manager with cause, and to ask the state attorney to press charges is past due, and it should pass by a 5-0 vote. In the last meeting, one commissioner would not even make a comment about the city manager’s failure to properly account for city finances. She was elected by the people to be a watchman for her city, but she does not care enough to ask questions or make a statement. That should raise questions with the state about her possible involvement with the thefts.

Also, in the last meeting the city attorney declared that firing the city manager should be a process that would require more than one meeting. I would like to declare to her, that I was in the meetings when the last two city managers were terminated, and in both meetings, there was a motion and a majority vote, and the terminations were final. In both of those cases, they were fired without cause, not like this situation at all.

One last concern. Lt. Dan Picciolo (former District 12 PBSO commander) was recently transferred to another location for political reasons. He is a decent and honorable man that truly cares for the people of Pahokee. I hope the leaders and citizens of this area will reach out to Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw to reconsider that transfer.

Thank you for your time, and may God bless Pahokee!

Bobby Colvin is a Pahokee resident and owner/operator of fruit and nut tree groves.

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