1. Pinellas

Madeira Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans being eyed by former employer

Madeira Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans
Madeira Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans
Published Apr. 10, 2019

MADEIRA BEACH — City Manager Jonathan Evans has not rejected efforts by officials and residents in his previous city, Riviera Beach, to convince him to return as their city manager.

But, he hasn't said yes, either, partly because of a $190,000 settlement agreement with that city that appears to bar him from ever returning as any kind of employee there.

The power structure in Riviera Beach completely changed recently when voters tossed out the incumbents who essentially fired Evans in 2017.

The new City Council was scheduled to discuss "modifying, disposing of and/or amending" Evans' legal agreement this week to clear the way to negotiate with him.

Evans was hired as Madeira Beach city manager in January 2018, nearly a year after he was ousted in Riviera Beach by a three-vote council majority.

Previous coverage: New Madeira Beach manager promises to help city heal

He was fired for unspecified charges that were never substantiated and were legally debunked in a settlement with the city of Riviera Beach and the three individual council members who voted to oust him.

The five-page settlement agreement signed last July ending Evans' lawsuit against Riviera Beach stated that the city acknowledged "there was no evidence of misfeasance or malfeasance" by Evans.

It also stated Evans "will not seek employment with Employer (Riviera Beach) at any time in the future."

It prohibited Evans from applying for or accepting any offered position with the city.

Evans had served as city manager in Riviera Beach for only six months and previously was the Sarasota County assistant administrator, overseeing the county's community development and infrastructure departments.

When reached for comment Monday, Evans said emphatically that given the terms of his settlement agreement he is "only focused on serving the residents of Madeira Beach."

However, when asked if he has told Riviera Beach officials that he was not interested in regaining his former position there, he said he had not.

Evans said that if the settlement restriction on his being rehired by Riviera Beach were removed, he would "discuss the matter in more detail."

Evans did stress, however, that he has not entered into any formal contract negotiations with Riviera Beach officials.

"It is definitely refreshing and nice to know that people in Riviera Beach did appreciate my services and that I made an impact," he added.

However, as of Monday Evans had not told Madeira Beach officials that he was aware that Riviera Beach wanted him back.

"It is on my to-do list," Evans said.

In fact, his return to the east coast city was a major issue in that city's recent election.

It was clear during a Riviera Beach City Council meeting held last week, that both the new council and most of the audience wanted Evans to return as the city's manager.