Firing of Bill Biro Creates Fireworks
Accusations, yelling at City Council meeting
The firing of streets department head Bill Biro in February spilled over into Monday's city council meeting as Biro's attorney accused mayor Jim Smith of having a vendetta against Biro.
During public comments, Avon resident David Mast questioned why a hearing officer, Brooklyn law director Scott Claussen, was hired for Biro's appeal of his firing.
Gerald Phillips, Biro's attorney, added that he had no input into the selection of Claussen, and that Biro had been denied due process because of it.
Phillips said that a "desperate" Smith had given Biro "impossible" tasks to pave the way for Biro's firing.
Smith jumped in then, shouting at Phillips, "Who gave (Biro) his job back when he begged for it?"
According to a 2010 "last-chance" agreement between Biro and the city, released by Smith after Monday's meeting at the request of media, Biro had committed an unspecified violation of city policy on April 19, 2010.
In order to keep his job, the agreement said, Biro had to be monitored by a substance abuse professional, comply with all recommended treatment and submit to drug and alcohol testing. Biro was also suspended for 60 days without pay.
The circumstances of Biro's dismissal in February were not released.
Phillips, who said he had 138 letters of support for Biro, said Smith had fired Biro to appoint a friend, "rumored to be" Ward 1 councilman Bryan Jensen.
Jensen replied to Phillips, "That would make you a liar."
After the meeting, Jensen, a part-owner of Pinehaven Greenhouse & Garden Center, said that he had "never been approached about nor discussed with anyone" being hired as streets superintendent.
Phillips also accused Smith of being "politically motivated" in the firing of Biro, saying that Smith should resign as mayor and that there would be a recall petition.