Hours after resigning her post as town clerk, Marjorie Tejeda-Castillo was present at the Miami Lakes council meeting on Tuesday night, greeting residents and conducting her official duties.
Although Tejeda-Castillo declined to speak about her resignation, which was tendered Tuesday and is effective Aug. 14, she detailed her feelings in a letter of resignation she emailed to town officials.
“It is with a lot of emotion that I announce my resignation from my position as Town Clerk effective August 14, 2015,” Tejeda-Castillo wrote in the email titled “ Letter of Resignation” and sent at 1:06 p.m. “This was not an easy decision.”
Her resignation came a day after Mayor Michael Pizzi allegedly threatened to sue her and Town Manager Alex Rey during a meeting on Monday if two new business items on the town’s July 21 agenda were implemented.
Pizzi has since said that he didn’t make such threats, and that the situation was a misunderstanding.
“It really was a meeting with the manager; she happened to be sitting there. All I expressed to the manager was concern that if the council was going to do things to prevent me from [performing my duties] then that was going to create some legal issues,” Pizzi said during a break at Tuesday’s meeting.
Rey detailed the encounter in an email sent to town officials on Monday.
“He threatened to personally sue the town clerk and myself if we proceed to implement any legislation that resulted from the implementation of the above mentioned items,” Rey wrote. “As a result of this action, the town clerk has verbally submitted her resignation and is currently not in office.”
After Pizzi sent out a mass email Monday saying Rey’s account was “absolutely not true,’’ Tejada-Castillo sent her own email confirming the manager’s account.
The items in question were 13B and C.
Councilman Tony Lama sponsored Item 13B, which was co-sponsored by Councilman Nelson Rodriguez. It called for the town’s letterhead and town resources not to be used for non-town sponsored events. Rodriguez proposed Item 13C, which calls for the clerk to be the only person who can call up residents to speak at town meetings.
Pizzi said the agenda items would prevent him from performing his mayoral duties. He said if he wanted to give away turkeys during the holidays — and paid for it with his own funds — then he would not be able to promote the event using the town’s email.
Lama and Rodriguez say the items, which were not voted on during Tuesday night’s meeting, weren’t intended to be a jab at the mayor.
“It’s never personal,” Lama said via Twitter. He is in the United Kingdom on a business trip and attended the meeting through Skype. “This item is about preventing abuse of power from any member of the council and misuse of town resources.”
Meanwhile, members of the town council and residents weighed in on Tejeda-Castillo’s departure.
“This is a sad day for the Town of Miami Lakes; Marjorie is the glue that holds the town family together,” said Rodriguez, prior to the meeting.
Tejeda-Castillo, who cried during the meeting, has been with the town since 2008; she earns $72,000 annually as town clerk.
“Marjorie, I respect you, and I think you are an awesome employee, and it’s a true loss to our community that you’re resigning,” resident Claudia Luces said.
Pizzi said he considers Tejeda-Castillo a friend, and doesn’t want to see her leave.
“I love her very much and I hope she will reconsider and come back, but I really don’t think it has anything to do with threats of a lawsuit,” Pizzi said. “I think to some extent there is some tension between me and the council since this whole battle over the reinstatement and I think it’s affecting the staff a little bit.”
Pizzi was arrested in August 2013 on federal bribery charges, and suspended from his mayoral post by Gov. Rick Scott. He ultimately was found not guilty of the charges and was reinstated as mayor in April.