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Small group of demonstrators support fired Hollywood city manager

A handful of demonstrators rallied outside city hall Monday afternoon to protest City Manager Douglas Hewett’s forced resignation.

Hewett, 41, who had been with the city 14 weeks was forced to resign last week after details of his April DUI arrest came to light at the end of May.

Mayor Peter Bober had called for Hewitt’s resignation saying that the city manager did not share all the details of his arrest with the commission following the incident.

Bober also questioned a tweet on Hewett’s personal Twitter account, which has since been taken down, that described himself as an “uncivil civil servant.”

At the protest, demonstrators were hoping to get Hewett reinstated as city manager.

“I feel like his rights were violated,” said Andre Brown, a Hollywood activist, who was among the small group of demonstrators.

Hewett is on administrative leave. His last day with the city will be June 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, at about 3 a.m. on April 8.

“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 consumed two Coors Light beers. Breath samples showed his blood-alcohol level was .145 and .139, significantly higher than the .08 legal limit.

At a special meeting Friday, the commission agreed to give Hewett 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, who was not at the meeting, promised he would not sue the city.

If he had been fired, he would have been eligible for only 20 weeks of pay.

Hewitt later released an email 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.”

Hewett pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence, failure to obey a traffic sign and failure to use a designated lane.

Hewett started on the job Feb. 27. He had been hired to replace Cameron Benson, who had been forced to resign less than a year go. When Benson left, he was given a $300,000 severance package.

Hewett was hired after a nationwide search, which cost the city $23,000.

His contract called for him to receive $172,000 annually, plus a $125-a-month cellphone allotment and $500 a month for his car. Assistant City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark will serve as acting city manager, just as she did after Benson resigned less than a year ago. Several commissioners hope Swanson-Rivenbark will take the position permanently.

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