With a looming municipal election in January, the detention center and the attorneys contrasting legal opinions became a hot button issue for candidates.
Commissioner Iris Siple hammered at the issue nearly every meeting, calling the contract deceptive even though she voted to approve it in June. She won re-election easily.
But Commissioner Jack McCluskey, who had expressed doubts that cancelling the citys contracts with Southwest Ranches would halt the federal detention center, was defeated at the polls.
Voters replaced McCluskey with Jay Schwartz, who later voted with the commission majority to cancel the fire-rescue, emergency medical, water and sewer service contract.
Schwartz said last week that he has residents support, even though the proposed detention center is outside his electoral district.
They fully embrace the actions that Im taking, he said. My position is: Lets find out what our legal rights are.
Commissioner Angelo Castillo, who also voted to cancel the contract, said the resulting lawsuits are the price of doing the governments business.
The cost of doing the business of government cant be an excuse for government not to do its job, he said. We are doing the job were supposed to do.
Vice Mayor Carl Shechter was the only elected official to vote with the mayor against cancelling the contract.
Siple said she stands firm in her opposition to the detention center. She said the facilitys ill effects would far outweigh the legal cost of opposing it.
No one wants to be frivolous or careless with money, she said, but there has to be some value put on quality of life and protecting families and homes. Thats priceless.