Broward News

Signs That Sylvia Poitier Is Turning District Residents Against Deerfield Commission

She's the single African American commissioner and she rules a district with a large African-American population, but Sylvia Poitier's recent ethical problems don't appear to have a racial component -- at least not until she announces that race is a factor.

And there are subtle signs that Poitier may do just that. The most recent came during a heated discussion at last night's meeting, which you can see above (thanks to Chaz Stevens for the video), when Poitier clashed with Commissioner Bill Ganz.

Ganz had learned that in meetings with residents, Poitier had said that the Deerfield commission was conspiring to remove people in her district who lived near the Dixie Flyover. But the city's meetings about the Dixie Flyover have been open to the public, and Ganz -- who's been to the only two meetings that have been held so far -- says that no one has ever discussed removing residents from that area of the city.

"It's made-up, a complete figment of her imagination," he told Juice this afternoon. Ganz made a point of addressing it during last night's meeting, he says, because "I don't want this to be us versus them."

But that may be exactly what Poitier wants. (She did not pick up calls made to her phone, which has a full mailbox.) Having been named by a forensic auditor in a report about suspected fraud in Deerfield Beach housing programs, Poitier may be desperate enough to claim that she's being targeted by a commission that has ulterior motives for smearing her.

In fact, at last night's meeting Poitier even proposed that the city hire an attorney who could sue the auditor for defamation on her behalf. "That's not going to happen," Ganz said today. "I don't think it sets a very good precedent to have an audit report a set of facts, only to then an official sue the auditor because she doesn't like the facts."

With more far-reaching audits to come in the next few months, the political crucible's going to get even hotter for Poitier. That's bound to create even more spectacular clashes on the dais than the one we witnessed last night.

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Thomas Francis