The Pahokee City Commission’s Special Meeting on Monday, July 19 was yet another example of chaos and disruption by Perez, Gonzalez and Bohlen. Ever since the March 2021 election, these three dais members have done all they can to sow doubt and division in Pahokee. At every meeting, they attack and question city staff's motives and job performance. As former Commissioner Biggs stated at a recent commission meeting: If you do not trust others, how do you expect to be trusted? Be clear, the commission as a collective body sets policy and procedures. Individual commission members or a group of them cannot and should not dictate day to day operations as that is the domain of the appointed manager.
Let us not forget that Bohlen actively endorsed, campaigned with, and hosted both Perez and Gonzalez at her home on several occasions before the 2021 elections.
Gonzalez and Perez with Bohlen as their chief campaigner told voters that they would bring transparency and answering the public’s questions at meetings. Based on the July 19 meeting where they declined answering specific questions from voters along with the opportunity the mayor provided for comments by commissioners, this promise was never their intention.
It was downright shameful and cowardly to move forward with a vote to terminate the city attorney’s contract while not offering specific reason(s) for it. What is worse is that eight people spoke out against termination during public comment. Just one person spoke in favor of the pending vote. Perez, Gonzalez, and Bohlen say they are doing what the voters asked them to do yet several voters spoke in favor of keeping the attorney in place. In the end, these community voices were silenced, abandoned, and betrayed.
The most obscene and egregious act at the meeting was that Perez voted to terminate the attorney’s contract when she clearly has a conflict of interest. The city lawyer is defending Pahokee against both Sara Perez’s lawsuit and that of her husband. Perez should have not been allowed to motion, second, or vote in that matter. I strongly believe this is an ethics violation on her part. Perez is the worst offender on the commission. Just watch every meeting since she came on the dais to see for yourself. She never conducts herself with decorum or professionalism. This is no more evident then what happened after the meeting adjourned. Her interaction with the reporter asking her pertinent questions was belligerent and made Pahokee look worse than it already had during the meeting. Part of her contact with the press was later played on the news last night. To say it was truly horrifying and unbecoming of a public official is to say to say the least.
To see voters and the public finally opening their eyes about how Pahokee’s Commission Meetings have been conducted by Bohlen, Gonzalez and Perez since April is a welcomed sign of progress. I call upon all that love Pahokee and her future to get involved. I urge you to attend meetings, speak out, and vote. It has been 4 months (April-July) since Bohlen, Perez, and Gonzalez took the majority on the commission. In that time, it has been one controversy after the other. Every meeting since has been more embarrassing then the next. It is time to hold their feet to the fire and start reporting them as they are so fond of doing to others.
You can file a PBC Ethics Complaint at http://palmbeachcountyethics.com/pdf/Forms/Complaint_Form_and_Instructions.pdf. You can also report potential Sunshine Law violations with the PBC State Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Unit at PIU@sa15.org.
I wholeheartedly believe that Bohlen, Perez, and Gonzalez’s actions at the July 19 meeting warrant both agencies above to investigate.
Follow Pahokee Speaks group on Facebook to stay up to date on meetings, etc.
David J. Ruiz