By Jane Smith
Delray Beach City Manager George Gretsas received notice of the intent to fire him on June 24 by a 3-2 vote of the city commission. He is suspended with pay.
Commissioners were asked to vote without seeing the outside counsel’s report on allegations levied against Gretsas.
They relied on City Attorney Lynn Gelin, who hired the outside firm. Gelin said Gretsas violated city policy.
“I can’t go forward with that motion without knowing the details,” said Commissioner Adam Frankel who voted no along with Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston.
Gelin will prepare a preliminary notice to give to Gretsas. He has five days to respond. If he demands a public hearing, one will be held in front of the commission in July.
“He could be terminated for cause, if he’s not willing to resign,” Gelin said.
The meeting was delayed for more than an hour while Gretsas talked with his attorney.
The commission also appointed an interim city manager to take over for Gretsas by a 4-1 vote. Deputy Vice Mayor Shirley Johnson nominated Jennifer Alvarez, purchasing director. She has been with the city for 2-1/2 years.
She also happened to be on the telephone and was able to answer questions about her experience.
But Boylston requested making assistant city manager, Allyson Love, the interim.
“She actually ran a city – Fort Lauderdale,” he said. Delray Beach is facing a budget deficit of between $8 million and $10 million, he said to bolster his argument that the city needs someone experienced.
Alvarez will serve until the city decides on whether Gretsas can stay. If he resigns or is fired, city staff will contact the International City Managers Association to hire someone from its pool.
That is how Delray Beach found Terry Stewart who became the interim city manager in 2014, Frankel said. Stewart is now the city administrator of Arcadia.