Broward News

Deerfield Beach Moves to Fire City Manager Mike Mahaney; Predictably, Shouting Ensues

In this evening's meeting of the Deerfield Beach City Commission, officials took an initial step toward terminating Mike Mahaney as their city manager, a post he's held for nearly three years.

The motion was made by Commissioner Bill Ganz, who told his colleagues that he'd discussed the matter earlier that day with Mahaney.  From his remarks, it was clear that Ganz had warned Mahaney that this day might arrive. "Over the past several months, there have problems with communication," said Ganz in the meeting, which streamed live online. "I think there's definitely a lack of leadership. But I feel it's in the best interests of the residents of Deerfield Beach [to bring in a new city manager]."

That was the civil part of the discussion. After that, it got nasty. Unfortunately, that's when my stream started getting choppy. It sounded like

Commissioner Marty Popelsky seconded Ganz's motion -- but only for the sake of "discussion."

Commissioner Joe Miller read a defense of Mahaney from what looked to Ganz like prepared remarks -- which suggested that Mahaney had had a powwow with Miller in advance of Ganz's action. This infuriated Ganz, who indicated this was exactly the kind of backroom politicking that was at the heart of his motion to terminate.

When it was Mayor Peggy Noland's turn, she described a tense relationship with Mahaney. "I walk into City Hall. Mike Mahaney shuts his front door." She made reference to a list, which she would have brought to the meeting if she'd known it would prove useful, in which she claims to have documented all the requests she's made of Mahaney that he's not fulfilled. "I just feel that the City of Deerfield Beach is not moving ahead in a positive direction toward the betterment of the community," said Noland. "The community made a choice in March [2009] to elect new people up here and move the city ahead. I support Commissioner Ganz and his motion."

That led to Mahaney taking the mic. My stream went on the fritz for most of his remarks, but I heard him accuse Noland of holding a personal grudge against him because "I demoted your husband when he was on the union negotiating team" for Deerfield Beach Fire & Rescue.

Noland lost her temper as Sylvia Poitier pounded the gavel. Sounded like there was some colorful language after that, but I didn't quite catch all of it, due to the feed. Pretty sure Noland said to Mahaney, "You are scum."

In any case, Mahaney was placed on paid administrative leave till the city commissioners decide his fate at their next meeting. In the interim, the city IT manager, Burgess Hanson, will serve as city manager.

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Thomas Francis