ANOTHER FALSE ALARM
Residents who intended to speak out at the Jan. 12 Fort Lauderdale City Commission meeting about the city’s overcharges for responding to false burglar and fire alarms were once again disappointed. Without explanation, the issue was tabled again. A South Florida Times investigation last year found that the city overcharged thousands of residents and businesses since at least 1998 after responding to alarms that the city determined to be false. Even though city officials such as Assistant City Manager David Hebert were aware of the overbillings, no action has been taken to address the situation.
TIME TO GO?
By the time you read this, Deerfield Beach City Manager Mike Mahaney could be gone from that job. Mahaney has been at odds with his previous bosses, and the relationship took a turn for the worse after new commissioners were elected in March 2008. At the Jan. 5 city commission meeting, Commissioner Bill Ganz put forth a motion calling for Mahaney’s termination, but the issue was tabled until a Jan 15 special meeting. Mayor Peggy Noland’s husband works for the city’s fire department. After Noland supported a meeting to consider Mahaney’s termination, Mahaney explained that he had demoted her husband, suggesting that this is why she supported the termination meeting. Nolan reacted angrily, calling Mahaney “scum” several times.
Palm Beach County
CITY WORKER JAILED
Stacye Lynn Griffin, 37, an employee in the city of Riviera Beach’s Finance Department for just eight months, was arrested on Monday, Jan. 11, according to police. Griffin was charged with five counts of theft and one count of organized fraud, according to police. Griffin is accused of submitting and processing fake invoices to her department for payment, and then cashing the checks. A total of $3,500 has been discovered so far in the investigation. The investigation continues, but police say they do not believe any other employees are involved. Book’em, Dano!
CITY ATTORNEY RESIGNS
Opa-locka city commissioners were scheduled to consider a vote to terminate the contract of City Attorney Burnadette Norris-Weeks at a Dec. 9 meeting. Norris-Weeks said she had already told commissioners earlier that month that she would resign. She submitted her resignation letter on Dec. 9, prior to the start of that meeting. Commissioner Timothy Holmes had previously placed the termination item on the agenda in October, but he later pulled it. Norris-Weeks said he did not have enough votes for it to pass in October. At that time, Holmes and Commissioner Dorothy Johnson requested that the item be brought back at a future meeting. At the Dec. 9 meeting, Commissioner Rose Tydus praised Norris-Weeks for the high quality of legal services that she brought to the city. Norris-Weeks is still the city attorney for West Park, a city in Broward County where she is also serving in a dual role as interim city manager. Former West Park City Administrator Russell Benford left the job to become city manager of North Miami.
EX-JUDGE GOING TO PRISON
On Friday, Jan. 8, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko sentenced former Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Phillip Davis, 56, to 20 years in prison. Davis’ former assistant, Joan Headley, 54, received 10 years in prison. The two were convicted in 2009 of stealing over $82,825.30 from Miami-Dade Resident College, a grant-funded social services agency Davis founded. The money was supposed to provide job skills and training to Miami’s inner-city residents. Davis was removed from the bench in 1991 after being caught on tape in an FBI sting known as Operation Court Broom, arranging to take a $20,000 bribe. He was acquitted of those charges after giving tearful testimony before jurors.