Madeira Beach City Commissioners acted against the city’s manager and city clerk – who are husband and wife — days after questions arose over improprieties in a recent city election.
Mayor Maggi Black suspended City Manager Shane Crawford Thursday, reports the Tampa Bay Times, triggering a termination process. Commissioners also voted to fire city clerk Cheryl Crawford.
Crawford asked the city attorney to investigate the March election after Commissioner Housh Ghovaee – who had voted for it – was removed for Sunshine Law violations.
Commissioners voted 3-2 to suspend Crawford, a move that angered Commissioner Terry Lister.
Lister, according to the Times, ripped up his copy of the resolution and stormed out of the meeting.
While the board did not give reasons for firing Cheryl Crawford – who recently married Shane Crawford — Commissioner Nancy Oakley suggested in an earlier meeting the clerk lacked certification.
The Crawford’s relationship, initially approved by the city and former Mayor Travis Palladeno, came under an ethics complaint after Shane Crawford’s vocal support for a major Madeira Beach development project.
“Quite honestly,” Cheryl Crawford said after the vote, “as much as you don’t want me as your city clerk, please know I consider none of you three worthy of my dedication and support.”
At Thursday’s meeting, held before a crowded City Hall audience, Black vouched for the validity of the March election, citing a state law mandating any challenges to be filed within 10 days.
That prompted outrage from residents in attendance, with some threatening to sue.
Black then recommended former acting City Manager Jim Madden return to the job, which a city attorney rejected, saying it was out of order to raise issues not on the agenda.