Lake Worth Beach Commissioner Blasts Mayor Over Coronavirus Emergency Mishandling Of Power

The outburst stemmed from the city’s handling of the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Omari Hardy blasted Mayor Pam Triolo and City Manger Michael Bornstein during a contentious meeting last Thursday over the use of emergency powers as the coronavirus spreads, particularly in Florida.

What We Know:

  • Hardy watched the news as the coronavirus transformed from a distant outbreak to a threat to local lives. He wanted officials to immediately ban large public gatherings, stop shutting off delinquent electric and water accounts, establish more protection for workers, and find out who had lawful emergency powers.
  • According to Hardy, he requested the emergency meeting and only one other commissioner agreed to the meeting while other city officials did not think the meeting was necessary.
  • By the time the five-member committee met on Thursday, Hardy was seething. “I was angry. I wish I hadn’t lost my cool,” said Hardy (30) a former middle school civics teacher elected to the commission three years ago. “I felt strongly that I needed to say the things I said, and the public needed to know how wrong this is. But I wish I hadn’t been yelling.”

“This is a banana republic is what you’re turning this place into with your so-called leadership. We should’ve been talking about this last week. We cut off people’s utilities this week and made them pay what could have been their last check – to us — to turn their lights on in a global health pandemic. But you don’t care about that. You didn’t want to meet.” – Hardy

 

  • Triolo did not sit idly by. “Point of order! You are done. You’re done. You’re done. Disrespectful,” she said, marching out of the meeting and into a back room of City Hall. But social distance did nothing to slow the argument; it continued from two separate rooms as other commissioners sat quietly.
  • Bornstein acknowledged that the service to dozens of residents had been suspended earlier, but he said no utility disconnections had taken place since a moratorium was announced on Wednesday, the day before the explosive meeting. Those customers had already had their service restored, he said, and fines had been reversed.
  • Hardy said he could hardly sleep after the commission meeting. He knew the shouting match had been recorded. He did not know how it would land among residents – or that it would eventually be viewed more than four million times.
  • Hardy emailed The Palm Beach Post saying that he regretted the back and forth that took place. But later, Hardy took to social media and explained his actions which he felt were justified. He only wished that he kept calm.
  • He said he was unhappy that Triolo later told him she had received death threats after the video went viral. “This was two public officials talking about their issues pertaining to our city,” Hardy said. “These threats must stop. She has a right to feel safe.”

Watch the full meeting below:

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Dominique Browder is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo.

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