In just a few hours, the Deerfield Beach City Commission will hold its special meeting to vote on a motion by Commissioner Bill Ganz to terminate City Manager Mike Mahaney. I reached Ganz by phone a few moments ago to see whether he had been able to work out his difficulties with Mahaney since the meeting ten days ago.
Ganz says that he sat down with Mahaney this past weekend. They spoke for more than two hours. But little progress was made. "I think we both walked away hoping that we had changed each other's mind," says Ganz, but that wasn't the case for him, and he suspects that Mahaney felt the same. "We talked about meeting again this week to try to find common ground, but neither one of us followed back up with the other."
So it appears that Ganz is sticking with his vote to fire Mahaney. Mayor Peggy Noland has been licking her chops at the prospect of casting the same vote. Commissioners Joe Miller and Sylvia Poitier support Mahaney. So it boils down to Commissioner Marty Popelsky.
Popelsky seemed noncommittal at the January 5 meeting, and when the Sun-Sentinel reached him this week, he was still wrestling with his decision. I left a message with Popelsky today but haven't heard back.
I asked Ganz if he had any clue which way Popelsky was leaning. "Your guess is as good as mine," he says. If Popelsky puts off his decision till the meeting, Ganz has prepared remarks that he hopes are persuasive. "I will have to lay out my case to convince my colleagues this is the right thing to do."
Deerfield Commission meetings have a certain steel-cage deathmatch quality, especially when rumors of personal politics come into play. At the last meeting, Mahaney accused Noland of retaliating against him based on Mahaney's having slighted her husband, a Deerfield firefighter. Video of that dramatic exchange is here.
It didn't exactly endear Mahaney to Ganz. "That portion of the meeting was a complete embarrassment," he says.
The city's firefighters are a powerful political force. I asked Ganz whether they had influenced his decision to terminate Mahaney. "Absolutely not," Ganz says. "All of my reasons (for objecting to Mahaney) are performance-based."
Tonight's meeting will be streamed live here, courtesy the Deerfield Observer. Can viewers expect fireworks? Ganz hopes not, but he's not giving any guarantees. "I can only how I conduct myself," he says.