Best Buyout (2002)
Fort Lauderdale Assistant City Manager Pete Witschen has been trying to get out of his job for a few years now. He has applied for most every open city manager position in the country -- and came very close to escaping South Florida a few times. But his dismal record in Fort Lauderdale haunted him and ultimately knocked Witschen out of contention again and again. There were the improper relationships with female underlings -- a city planner and a police officer -- that our unapologetically moralizing mayor, Jim Naugle, didn't approve of. Poor Pete was very mad when this newspaper broke that story and madder still when the Charlotte Observer cited our article while Witschen was trying to get a municipal job in North Carolina. And we can't forget those pesky city discrimination cases, which have exacerbated racial tensions and are going to cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Witschen, bluntly put, has been a piss-poor leader; city manager Floyd Johnson did the right thing to pay Witschen six months' salary and show him the door. Too bad the decision didn't come several years ago.