For the services of City Manager Douglas Hewett, the residents of Hollywood paid $2,400 for each day he was on the job.
Hewett resigned Friday, after the mayor and city commissioners said they couldn’t trust him and questioned his judgment following a DUI arrest. He had been on the job just 14 weeks.
He leaves with a $66,000 payout, 12 months of health insurance and a promise by the city to not say anything bad about him.
In exchange, Hewett promised he won’t sue the city.
“This is terrible for the city’s image,” said Commissioner Patricia Asseff. “The whole thing is just sad.”
The resignation was announced at a special meeting Friday called by Mayor Peter Bober after details surrounding Hewett’s DUI arrest on Easter Sunday became public.
Hewett did not appear at the meeting, but was watching via live stream in his office, the mayor said.
Hewitt later released an e-mail saying that he appreciated the opportunity to work in Hollywood.
“During my short tenure as city manager, working together we advanced our community in numerous ways,” he wrote. “I hope the work we’ve done to expand the number of citizens who participate in the decision making process continues, as well as the progress that’s been made to rebuild trust and unity between the city and its employees.”
Until last week, City Commissioners said they were very happy with their new city manager’s job performance.
But that all changed due the events of April 8.
According to a Miami-Dade police report, Hewett, 41, was pulled over after leaving Swinging Richards, a gay strip club in North Miami Beach about 3 a.m.
“I immediately noticed the defendant had red bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech and the strong smell of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath,” the police officer wrote in the report.
Hewett told the officer he had drunk two Coors Light beers. Breath samples showed his blood-alcohol level was .145 and .139, significantly higher than the .08 legal limit.
Hewett pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence, failure to obey a traffic sign and failure to use a designated lane.
The mayor and commissioners say he immediately told them of the DUI, and at the time they were willing to stand behind him.
“I was never worried about the DUI,’’ said Commissioner Dick Blattner. “That happens. Shame on you. Pay your fine. Do your intervention or whatever the courts order. That’s a matter for the judicial system.’’
Even City Attorney Jeff Sheffel advised the commissioners to not get involved, explaining anything they said could have an impact on Hewett’s criminal case.
But in late May, news of Hewett’s arrest became public, and reporters revealed details Hewett had not told the commissioners.
“We did not know where his drinking had taken place,” said Blattner. “We didn’t know what it was. I saw the name [Swinging Richards] in the police report, but that name meant nothing to me.”
During a special meeting Friday, Bober said his decision to ask for Hewett’s resignation was not based on the DUI itself, but how he handled it afterward.
“If you want to claim you are being forthcoming and being straight,” said Bober. “I think you have to come forward with all the details.”