Joy Adams was two hours and 39 minutes into chairing her first City Commission meeting as mayor of Hallandale Beach when she interrupted a city employee talking about options for hiring a new city manager to comment on being Jewish and saving money.
“I mean today I’m half Jewish,” Adams said. “I’m saving a lot of money today.”
Another commissioner said the comment was inappropriate and promoted an offensive stereotype.
Contacted by the Herald about her statement, Adams said she was half Jewish on her dad’s side and not to take her comment out of context. She also said she would apologize.
The context was this:
The Hallandale Beach City Commission was discussing plans to hire a new city manager to replace interim manager Nydia Rafols-Sallaberry. Radu Dodea, Human Resources Director in Hallandale Beach, was at the podium presenting two options to the commission: his recommendation, which was to hire an outside firm to headhunt the next manager, or to keep the hunt in-house, saving money but limiting the pool of candidates.
“I just had one question. Can you do it a lot cheaper?” Adams asked Dodea.
Dodea stumbled a bit, explaining that as a city employee he wouldn’t charge for his services so it would be cheaper to keep things in-house. He continued, attempting to restate his recommendation of hiring an outside firm, when the mayor interrupted him to say she was half Jewish and wanted to save money.
There was an awkward pause, then Dodea continued as if he hadn’t heard her.
Hallandale Beach has a significant Jewish population.
Commissioner Michele Lazarow, who is Jewish, said she wants to give Adams the benefit of the doubt.
“Her comment was inappropriate, but I don’t think she understands that the stereotype she was promoting is offensive,” Lazarow said. “I think this is a learning opportunity and she should take the lesson, apologize, and move forward.”
Adams said she would apologize for her comment at the next scheduled meeting on Nov. 28.
Her comments come after she won the seat from the previous mayor, Keith London, whose campaign was hamstrung by a series of outrageous and inappropriate public comments he made. His most infamous comment from the dais was when he accused Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub of profiting from bleaching her own anus. A few months later, Lima-Taub used her public platform to liken London to Hitler.