A divided Delray Beach City Commission voted Wednesday to give notice of intent to fire City Manager George Gretsas in what amounted to a kangaroo court hearing.
In a meeting held without publishing an agenda, Mayor Shelly Petrolia and commissioners Julie Casale and Shirley Johnson voted for the firing. Ryan Boylston and Adam Frankel voted no.
The stated cause was an allegation that Gretsas had violated city policy. But the report by an outside legal firm to investigate the allegation is not complete. Gretsas and his attorney asked that the commission be allowed to review the report and that he be allowed to respond. Petrolia, Casale and Johnson refused.
Even for Delray Beach, which now has gone through eight city managers in eight years, it was a new low. The 3 p.m. meeting was delayed for more than an hour while city officials pressed Gretsas to resign. City Attorney Lynn Gelin remained cryptic throughout the meeting. At one point, she claimed that Gretsas had proposed a resignation to avoid having the report damage his credibility. Gretsas’ attorney, however, said the city had proposed the resignation option. Gelin later seemed to confirm that version, thus contradicting her earlier version.
With the city facing a budget deficit of between $8 million and $10 million, the commission named Purchasing Director Jennifer Alvarez to be interim city manager.
Petrola hoped that the city could move forward “in a positive direction.” That seems unlikely.
I will have much more on Thursday.