BY BUDDY NEVINS
Having ditched one manager who single-handedly destroyed Coconut Creek’s reputation as a well-governed city, commissioners appear ready to pick his deputy to replace him.
Interim City Manger Mary C. Blasi has the job in the bag.
Mary C. Blasi
Blasi is being picked as early as next week without a search.
Commissioners didn’t even look outside of City Hall for possible replacements.
This is terribly bad governance.
Mayor Becky Tooley and Commissioners Lou Sarbone and Mikkie Belvedere are to blame. Most people would make more effort when buying a car or booking a hotel room — comparing different possibilities — than these three made picking a city manager.
“There is a total lack of transparency,” Commissioner Lisa Aronson says.
Coconut Creek desperately needs a new manager who can put the era of David Rivera in the past. They don’t need his deputy.
Browbeating city employees while ignoring residents, Rivera was a horrible leader.
Morale in City Hall sunk. Residents got shafted as Rivera treated tax dollars like Monopoly money.
He paid a City Hall secretary more than $100,000. And he gave himself a pay package worth $360,000, a ridiculous amount for a city of 54,000.
The commissioners, of course, can be faulted for Rivera’s excesses. They were poor stewards of the public’s money.
But three of the five commissioners finally had enough when Rivera started yelling at them. Rivera quit in May and commissioners talked about doing a national search to replace him.
That’s all they did — talk.
Instead commissioners are handing Blasi a new city manager contract as early as Sept. 12.
Aronson says she will ask Blasi to make a presentation to sell herself at next week’s meeting. She noted that Blasi has been “separating herself from Dave (Rivera) and has become her own person.”
One possible reason for the rush to hire Blasi: Longtime City Attorney Paul Stuart is due to retire next year and they may want somebody who is familiar with the ways of City Hall.
The question remains. How can commissioners know if Blasi is the best choice for taxpayers unless they do a real search and publicly consider applicants?
Coconut Creek should seek a new manager in the mold of John Kelly, who left in 2008 after turned the city into a modern community during his decades running it.
But commissioners are not going to find a new Kelly unless they look. Outside City Hall.