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By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter

DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – The City will hold its bimonthly Regular Commission Meeting at 4PM today (Tuesday, July 7th) virtually, and is available via live-streaming to the public. Any resident can comment on any matter by leaving a voicemail message that will be played during the meeting, and made a part of the public record.

City Hall, Regular Commission Meeting, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
The City of Delray Beach will hold its Regular Commission Meeting at 4PM on Tuesday, July 7th, photo by Mike S Payton.

The meeting is set to run for two hours, from 4PM to 6PM, and the agenda has been published online on the city’s web site. The agenda includes direction on joining the video stream as well as submitting comments.

Probably the most anticipated discussion will be on the review of the independent investigation into the allegation of bullying and subsequent vote for an ‘intent to terminate’ employment for cause of the City Manager, George Gretsas.

At a Special City Commission Meeting June 24th, they voted 3 to 2 in favor of initiating the termination of Gretsas, who has only been in the position since January 6th. Gretsas was suspended on administrative leave from his $265,000 a year job, with pay.

The twenty-page report concludes, “City Rule 5.1 prohibits workplace bullying, which are ‘actions that create an on-going pattern of behavior that is intended to intimidate, degrade or humiliate the employee(s) often in front of others.’ The evidence reviewed demonstrates that Mr. Gretsas’ behavior towards at least five employees violates the bullying policy.”

Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petrolia wrote in a statement yesterday morning, “I am deeply disappointed by the events leading to the departure of Mr. Gretsas, especially during a time when a strong, supportive city Manger is so badly needed.”

Adding, “But this untenable behavior toward our valued City staff could not be ignored or explained away – we needed to take action.” After discussion, the commission will decide on a schedule moving forward, which the employment contract spells out as a four month process, with a Special Meeting and Public Hearing to be held along the way.

City Manager, George Gretsas, City Hall, Regular Commission Meeting, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
Over the holiday weekend the report was filed by Allen, Norton & Blue, the law firm hired to investigate the complaints against the City Manager, image recreation.

Another agenda item that was expected to draw controversy, is the 100 Gleason Street residence under construction on the barrier island, which was asking for a forth story. Mayor Petrolia, explained last month when it was first on the agenda, “the home being built has a rooftop structure intended for human occupancy, which is not permitted under current rules.”

Rita Ellis, on the Executive Board and chair of Government Affairs for the Beach Property Owners’ Association (BPOA), wrote in a statement in March, “the BPOA strongly recommends that the Commission deny the appurtenance approval for 100 Gleason St.” The item has been postponed several times by the developers.

Another discussion that has drawn attention is the possible changes to residency requirements in order for interested persons to qualify as candidates for election for Commissioner or Mayor. Currently, the qualification of an elector states that the nominee is “qualified as an elector in the City and has been one since on or before September 1st preceding the election for which he or she is qualifying.”

City Attorney Gelin wrote in a staff report, “as municipal elections are typically held in March, an individual could qualify for office having been an elector in the City no less than six months prior to the election for the office which the person is seeking to qualify.” The Commission is also expected to determine the filing fee and number of petitions from registered voters.

This is the City Commission’s fifth regular meeting since the coronavirus closures, and while the technology has enabled virtual sessions, for some residents it is less accessible. The recent surge in COVID-19 cases may slow the return of face-to-face sessions, however Palm Beach County commission is meeting in person.

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