South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale)
BYLINE: Larry Barszewski, Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Lauderdale Lakes City Clerk Hazeline Carson was fired this week by City Manager Jonathan Allen, who said she did not fit into his plans for the future of the city.
“I believe that one of my responsibilities as city manager is to make strategic decisions in order to assemble an executive team that is best suited to continue to move the city forward and into recovery,” Allen wrote in a memo to the mayor and commissioners about the termination.
He did not elaborate on his reasons for firing Carson, 57, who has worked for the city for eight years.
Carson said she had no warning about her firing on Wednesday. She said she was given a choice to resign or be fired.
“There’s no specific reason why he’s getting rid of me as city clerk,” Carson said. “Although you might be reorganizing the city clerk’s office, why are you terminating my employment?”
Although surprised by the action, Carson said it might be a good thing because of the increased workload that’s fallen on her since the city’s financial problems surfaced.
“I’m just so tired, because I didn’t have a second in command,” she said. “I was a one-person show.”
Carson, who said her salary was $81,000, said she is receiving a 30-day severance called for in her contract.
Earlier this year, a report from the Broward County Office of Inspector General substantiated charges of gross mismanagement by city officials that led to its current fiscal predicament.
The city’s operating fund had a $1.4 million deficit at the end of the 2010 fiscal year that grew to a $4.9 million deficit last year.
The city still owes more than $8 million to the Broward Sheriff’s Offce and about $2.5 million to its Community Redevelopment Agency for money taken from the agency to cover regular city expenses.
Copyright 2012 South Florida Sun-Sentinel