Dear City of Pahokee Commission:

Letter to the Editor

Posted 5/7/21

To say that the April 27 Pahokee City Commission meeting was an utter embarrassment is to say that least.

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Dear City of Pahokee Commission:

Letter to the Editor


To say that the April 27 Pahokee City Commission meeting was an utter embarrassment is to say that least. On display was a true lack of leadership and professionalism by members of the dais.

Three commissioners showed the worst behavior confronting each other and interrupting one another. The shocking lack of decorum was on full display. Elected leaders are supposed to be examples of civility for the rest of the community. The commission is a legislative body which sets policy, but the dais also establishes the tone for the public. The commission should be productive, thoughtful, and deliberative in their dealings.

I can understand where Murvin’s frustration is coming from. Watching the last few commission meetings has proven that Bohlen and Perez are on a rampage to obstruct, minimize, and damage progress in the city. This is evident by the fact that during the last two city meetings, the commission could not get through a full agenda. Bohlen and Perez seem hell-bent on criticizing and delaying every project, agenda item, and staff recommendation.

The most shocking and detrimental behavior on the board comes from Sara Perez. If you observe Perez’s actions and words at the last 2 meetings, it is abundantly clear Perez is damaging Pahokee. She constantly attacks city staff and is inappropriate with presenters. Asking questions and conducting due diligence in one thing. However, speakers and staff’s motives, integrity, and professionalism should not be questioned at every turn. Commissioners cannot and should not be micro-managing the day-to-day operations of its staff. Pahokee has dedicated, professional, capable, and caring employees that need to be free to do what they were hired to do.

In the April meetings, Perez along with Bohlen go out of their way to make staff look incompetent, unprepared, unresponsive, and corrupt. Staff should be treated with the same respect and professionalism they give to the elected body. Perez’s behavior is the most concerning as it could turn away prospective investors, partners, and much needed help Pahokee needs.  

I fear a rapid decline of Pahokee’s image, projects, reputation, funding, and standing with the other levels of government if we see a continuation of what we witnessed on April 27. Lastly, the most alarming revelation from the April 27 commission meeting is that Perez is suing the city about the latest election. Her lawsuit is because the city disqualified her candidacy based on the residency requirement to run for office.

Perez is suing the city she professes to love while simultaneously claiming to represent Pahokee and its interests. My question to Perez: Did the lawsuit come about after the financial reports were received? To the public that put the new majority in office: Is this what you voted for?

On a separate matter, reports on active lawsuits against the city should not be held in closed door executive session. The report or details need to be done publicly in a meeting where all can witness the information. The new majority on the commission (Bohlen, Perez, Gonzalez) promised transparency so they should start with that. They should also respond to the public who email them.

I strongly recommend the commission evaluate and correct their personal actions, behavior, and attitude in future meetings. Pahokee deserves better and we should demand it. In the words of Josefa-Josie Hernandez, “Leadership is solving problems not making more problems.”

David J. Ruiz

pahokee, city, commission