Michael McGuigan, the social service administrator who was named CEO of the Broward House HIV service center despite persistent claims that he had made improper advances toward children, tearfully resigned his post at an emergency board meeting Friday afternoon.
The Broward House board of directors then voted to grant McGuigan a severance package — the details of which members declined to disclose.
Mark Budwig, the board’s president, said McGuigan was very emotional when he announced his resignation, which took effect “immediately.” He will be replaced in an interim basis by Stacy Hyde, the chief operating officer, who has been at Broward House for nine years.
“Everyone’s main concern at Broward House is for our clients,” Budwig said.
Board members, some of whom represent the most powerful healthcare and social service agencies in the county, had been under withering pressure in recent days to either suspend or remove McGuigan, 53. Two board members — one each from Broward Health and Memorial Healthcare System — had resigned earlier in the week as the majority of the board had refused to remove McGuigan. Two funding sources, the Florida Department of Children & Families and the Broward County Commission, were discussing withdrawing their contributions to Broward House’s $11 million budget.
And Ron Book, one of the state’s most powerful lobbyists and the father of a sexual abuse survivor, had spent much of the past week squeezing funders and children’s advocates to force the board’s hand.
The arm-twisting proved too much for the board, which had hoped to withstand the scrutiny following a front page Miami Herald story detailing McGuigan’s past.
Budwig, the board’s president, said in an interview with The Herald late Friday that the board’s five-member executive committee had been briefed on the allegations surrounding McGuigan two years ago — before he had been promoted first to vice president and, later, to CEO. The briefing was made by Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo, the previous Broward House CEO, who left the agency in September.
Castillo, Budwig said, vouched for McGuigan, and assured the board that children in the agency’s care would be safe.
“He let us know they were allegations, and that’s all they were,” Budwig said. “There was no crime, no substance to any of it. None of it was proved.
“It didn’t happen,” Budwig added.
Castillo — whom Channel 10’s Bob Norman reported may be up for a job with newly elected Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, whose campaign he strongly supported — declined to discuss any of his actions undertaken during his tenure at Broward House. “I have no comment on it whatsoever,” he said. “It has nothing to do with me.”
Castillo did suggest McGuigan has done nothing wrong: “Has he been convicted of anything?” he asked a reporter.
As well, Budwig said he does not regret his decision to retain and promote McGuigan, believing he acted honorably as Broward House’s top executive.
“He did an excellent job, and he does not deserve to have to resign,” Budwig said. “I think it’s unfortunate.”
McGuigan’s lawyer has not returned several calls from a reporter.