South Miami City Attorney Laurence Feingold announced his resignation at the March 1 City Commission meeting, advising he will serve in that position for 30 more days before his employment and that of Deputy City Attorney Mark Goldstein are terminated.
An add-on resolution to the Commission agenda sponsored by Vice Mayor Valerie Newman sought to terminate Feingold and provide an effective date.
However, Mayor Philip Stoddard’s read Feingold’s resignation letter aloud in which Feingold said his resignation stemmed from a request made by Newman.
Commissioner Velma Palmer declared: “One person cannot get this through; this is a body. It is way out of order.” She requested a clarification from Atty. Feingold on the legality of his resignation letter.
Feingold told Palmer that she was “100 percent correct. However, I gave my word and I have always valued and treasured my word. To me it is not a legal question.” Feingold said he had first given such word to former Commissioner Lew Sellars, and to both Stoddard and Newman, explaining that if either ever asked him to step down, he would do so willingly.
“The right to resign is the right of the employee,” said Mayor Stoddard, responding to Palmer’s concerns. “Larry and Mark, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service, your advice and your friendship.”
Resident David Tucker wished them “nothing but continued success and happiness,” a sentiment seconded by Beth Schwartz who said: “Larry, thank you very much for the work that you’ve done and good luck in the future.”
Javier Baños during a public remarks session questioned the termination request made by Newman, commenting: “I have not received a straight answer as to why there was an add-on item to terminate the city attorney. He is honorable.
“I’ve also seen him take extra steps that he doesn’t have to take. Larry, I thank you and I’m sorry to see you go,” he added.
While Newman had no comment, a motion to move forward with the RFQ process to immediately a list of potential replacement candidates was passed, 5-0.