FORT LAUDERDALE — Metropolis Lawyer Alain Boileau was fired Tuesday evening in swift retribution for alleged blunders made within the wake of a controversial election that had three new commissioners ready a month to take workplace.
“That is politics at its worst,” Boileau advised the South Florida Solar Sentinel after his firing.
Boileau’s $260,000-a-year job has been on the chopping block ever since newly elected Commissioner John Herbst demanded his firing two weeks in the past, simply hours after a Dec. 6 swearing-in ceremony.
Herbst didn’t have the votes that evening, however the political tide changed Tuesday when two different new faces on the dais mentioned they’d additionally misplaced confidence in Boileau and needed to maneuver in a brand new path.
The vote was 3-2, with Vice Mayor Warren Sturman becoming a member of Commissioner Pamela Beasley-Pittman and Herbst in agreeing to terminate Boileau instantly.
Mayor Dean Trantalis and Commissioner Steve Glassman forged the dissenting votes, arguing it was a foul transfer for a metropolis going through a collection of complicated challenges requiring the deft expertise of an professional authorized thoughts.
“You could have helped navigate town via some very tough occasions,” Trantalis advised Boileau after the vote.
In flip, Boileau dealt with his public exit with grace, telling the fee it was a privilege serving as town lawyer for the previous 4 years and 9 months.
“We achieved quite a bit, and we survived quite a bit,” he mentioned. “I do wish to thanks for the chance. I’ve an incredible quantity of respect for the workers and the administrators.”
Beneath his contract, Boileau is entitled to 6 months pay and 60 days discover. As a result of his termination was rapid, Boileau will likely be entitled to an additional two months of pay.
The fee appointed Assistant Metropolis Lawyer D’Wayne Spence to function interim metropolis lawyer till a successor is employed.
This isn’t the primary time a newly elected fee has despatched a metropolis lawyer out the door.
Boileau’s predecessor, Cynthia Everett, was fired in March 2018 proper after an election. Newly elected Commissioner Ben Sorensen made the movement, citing excessive turnover within the metropolis lawyer’s workplace. Trantalis and Glassman additionally agreed to her ouster.
With Everett gone, Boileau stepped into the function of metropolis lawyer, rapidly successful the reward and admiration of the fee together with regular pay raises.
In mid-October, Boileau bought rave opinions from his bosses and a 7% increase that noticed his wage soar from $243,000 to $260,000.
Glassman made word of that Tuesday evening.
“I believe it’s a foul transfer for town,” he mentioned of the transfer to fireside Boileau. “I heard the explanations at present. They’re all private grudges. I’m completely astonished that we’re even considering of doing this.”
Glassman additionally fretted over what would possibly turn out to be of initiatives being dealt with by Boileau and his crew.
“My greatest concern is that, with all the work sitting within the lawyer’s workplace proper now, we come to a halt,” Glassman mentioned in the course of the Tuesday afternoon fee convention assembly, the place the difficulty of firing Boileau first got here up.
“We are going to lose an incredible period of time,” Glassman added. “Tasks will fall by the wayside.”
Herbst dismissed these worries, noting that was not a priority when Glassman, Sorensen and Trantalis voted to fire him from his longtime job as metropolis auditor on Feb. 15 — the day after his birthday.
A brand new metropolis auditor took over after his exit with out skipping a beat, he famous.
In like vogue, the work of town lawyer’s workplace will go on “with none hiccup,” Herbst mentioned.
In the course of the fee’s afternoon assembly, Sturman blamed Boileau for not fixing what he known as “holes within the constitution” that led to a delayed swearing-in ceremony.
“What occurred within the final election mustn’t have occurred,” Sturman mentioned.
Beasley-Pittman mentioned she had a dialog with Boileau within the days after the Nov. 8 election and felt pressured to comply with be sworn in on Nov. 15, earlier than the election outcomes had been licensed.
“I used to be uncomfortable with that dialog,” she mentioned.
Boileau spoke in his personal protection, explaining that she was the clear winner within the District 3 race and didn’t want to attend.
Boileau argued Sturman’s win was too near name, forcing town to delay seating him on the fee.
“The vice mayor solely received by 49 votes,” Boileau mentioned. “Mathematically we needed to wait. Had that modified then I’d have Commissioner [Kevin] Cochrane in that seat wanting to fireside me additionally.”
Herbst won the District 1 race by a landslide however six days after the election, a shedding candidate challenged whether or not he’d met the constitution’s six-month residency requirement. Beneath the constitution, the fee was required to carry a listening to to make the decision on whether or not to seat Herbst.
Finally, the listening to was by no means held.
Boileau argued that Herbst’s accuser, former county commissioner Ken Keechl, was required to indicate up in individual to make his case. Keechl declined, arguing it was as much as town to determine issues out.
The mayor argued that it was unfair to position any blame on town lawyer.
“It’s fairly apparent that the offender right here is the constitution,” Trantalis mentioned. “To agonize over a single incident is the unsuitable method to proceed on this.”
Boileau additionally took up for himself.
“I didn’t write the constitution,” he mentioned. “I don’t get to only repair the constitution.”
Glassman made one final push to maintain Boileau on board.
“We ought to be specializing in the workload,” he mentioned. “All we’re doing now could be rehashing the election. By the way in which, everybody was sworn in. And everybody’s shedding their thoughts over three weeks? All three of you had been sworn in on the similar time. Nothing misplaced. We have to transfer on with the enterprise of town.”
And they’ll — however with out Boileau.
Susannah Bryan might be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Susannah_Bryan