Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Debate focuses on St. Pete Beach city manager's ouster

Bonfield

Bonfield

ST. PETE BEACH — More than 100 bitterly divided residents turned out Wednesday night to both praise and castigate the City Commission's official ouster of City Manager Mike Bonfield.

The standing-room-only special meeting was punctuated with catcalls, loud protests and frequent applause from both pro- and anti-Bonfield factions. He did not attend the meeting.

Despite constant reminders to speak only about the proposed severance package, most residents managed to make their opinions clear.

"The city has bled for years," said former Commissioner Lorraine Huhn, a Bonfield supporter, asking that residents refrain from the "toxicity" she believes has taken over the city.

"I hope the next city manager can truly bring the city together," said Deborah Scheckner, who agreed with Bonfield's ouster.

After speaking, more than 50 of those opposed to Bonfield's removal gathered outside to sign an impromtu informal petition to recall Mayor Maria Lowe from office, an action that by state law cannot happen for at least nine months.

At the end of the meeting, newly elected Commissioner Greg Premer, who voted against removing Bonfield, called for Lowe to resign herself "for the good of the city."

She refused — to loud applause from supporters.

"There are those who want to applaud us and others who want nothing else but to tear us down," Lowe said.

Lowe flatly denied any violation of the Sunshine Law in deciding to push for Bonfield to be fired and called on residents to support whoever is eventually chosen to replace him.

After more than an hour of debate, the commission unanimously granted Bonfield a severance package valued at over $100,000 in exchange for his agreeing to resign and not sue the city. He had been city manager for more than 12 years.

Meanwhile, the city's finance director, Elaine Edmunds, was given an 18 percent salary increase to serve as interim manager.

The commission also agreed to hold a special election in August to replace Commissioner Jim Parent, who resigned last week in protest after the commission voted to fire Bonfield.

Debate focuses on St. Pete Beach city manager's ouster 04/30/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 11:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Accountability plan, post-Irma, turnarounds and more

    Blogs

    ACCOUNTABILITY: The Florida Department of Education submits a revised Every Student Succeeds Act plan without the waiver requests it had originally proposed. Experts and advocates …

    High Point Elementary teacher Kristen Bierman works with English language learners on their reading skills. The state wants to test all students in English, saying it's Florida law.
  2. Rays morning after: Zim's legacy felt on bunt play

    Blogs

     

  3. Work, threats continue as Hernando recovers from Irma

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE

    Hurricane Irma's fierce winds are becoming a memory, but the water the storm left behind has become a real threat on Hernando's east side.

    This aerial drone view shows flooding on the Withlacoochee River in the Talisman Estates area of east Hernando, south of Ridge Manor. The river is about 6 feet above flood stage, and its floodwaters are not expected to recede for days.
  4. A boy and a girl stare at the camera from their house after Hurrciane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, September 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. [Associated Prss]
  5. Forecast: Dry air, hot temperatures remain in control across Tampa Bay

    Weather

    Dry but hot weather will continue Thursday across Tampa Bay with only a 20 percent chance of showers forecast for the afternoon.

    7 day forecast. [WTSP]