On October 9, 2019 Oakland Park City Commissioner Sara Guevrekian formally tendered her resignation to the City’s Attorney via email. Guevrekian had served on the City’s Commission since 2012. She served as Mayor from November 2018 to November 2019. On November 20, 2019 Matthew Sparks was sworn in as Mayor. It was Sparks’ turn to serve as Mayor as part of the City’s protocol to rotate the seat among Commission members. Guevrekian attended the inauguration and did not attend another Commission meeting since then.
Events which led Guevrekian to abstain from attending City Commission meeting began years before. At the February 6th, 2019 Commission meeting, during Commissioner comments, Guevrekian shared with the Commission an update regarding her interactions with City Manager, David Hebert. She stated, among other things, that their working relationship had been less than ideal and that since April 2018 they had not had an agenda briefing or telephone conversation with him.
As she shared her comments, Commissioner Lonergan asked if this should be scheduled as agenda item noting that they did not have time to properly discuss her grievances. Commissioner Guevrekian opined otherwise and said she would finish her comments and that any questions the Commission had could be asked after she finished.
Commissioner Sparks and Commissioner Lonergan left the meeting before she concluded her comments. Commissioner Carn conveyed several thoughts regarding the issue being brought forth before the City Commission the way that it was, concluding “that this has got to be resolved”. Commissioner Bolin agreed with Commissioner Carn that it could be resolved and suggested mediation.
At the end of the meeting, when asked by Guevrekian if he would like to comment, Hebert declined to do so.
After Mayor Sparks inauguration in November of 2019 Guevrekian was absent from every Commission from December 2019 through August 2020. At the September 3, 2020 meeting during Commissioner Comments, the City Clerk read a statement by Guevrekian in which she reiterated her grievances and the failure to resolve them. Commissioner Lonergan and Mayor Sparks responded to Guevrekian’s comments.
Commissioner Lonergan most likely in reference to the February 6, 2019 expressed that he does not “….believe in using the dais as bully pulpit. You need to ask time to discuss an issue“. In this way Lonergan shared, he believed both sides could be equally prepared to discuss the issue at hand.
Mayor Sparks shared various sentiments, including that “There are two sides to every story“.
Before concluding the Commission Meeting, Commissioner Lonergan asked if the Commission was up to sending a request to the Governor to have the Commissioner Guevrekian removed from office. Mayor Sparks replied: “My feeling is this… with all due respect, and I say this with the utmost amount of respect, her term is up shortly, I hope that she uses the time now and the end of her term to find some peace, and God bless her“. “Well said, thank you” Lonergan replied before the meeting continued.
Commissioners Bolin and Carn did not comment.
In her resignation email to the City Attorney, Guevrekian outlined her grievances once more. She concluded the email by formally resigning: “October 2020 is the 12 year anniversary of dedicating my full time focus on the betterment of the great City of OP, my resignation is effective immediately“.
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Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 33 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism.
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