Commissioner: Gag order was in place about resigning city manager

Alexandra Davis says Robert Payton planned to retire in 2012, then return for pension, salary

MIRAMAR, Fla. - A Miramar city commissioner claims she couldn't publicly criticize a city manager as a part of his separation agreement.

"All the sudden, this blew up and there's no way you can sit here and say I'm numb, I can't say anything," said commissioner Alexandra Davis.

Davis said Jamie Cole, the Miramar city attorney, told her under former city manager Robert Payton's separation agreement, she wasn't allowed to publicly criticize him.

Payton abruptly quit the city last week and received a $2.5 million retirement package.

"It seems anti-American to say you can't talk about the city manager and talk about the state of affairs in your own city," said Local 10's Bob Norman.

"Yeah," replied Davis.

Cole didn't return calls from Local 10 for comment.

Davis said Payton didn't confer with the commission when he recently picked a new police chief.

"I only found out when a member of the public told me," she said.

Davis said she also noticed Payton was receiving special benefits given to him before she was elected in 2010, and added Payton planned to retire last year, then return to collect both a pension and a salary.

"I didn't want that to happen under my watch so much so that it was never brought up to the commission," she said.

Mayor Lori Moseley voted to approve Payton's retirement package. She released a statement about recent media coverage of the city Tuesday, saying in part: "Having served the great residents and business community of Miramar since 1995, I wish to help clarify some of the misguided and flawed information you have been bombarded. I, too, am frustrated and desire to ensure that we make the necessary adjustments and continue to move our great city in a positive and progressive manner."

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