The George Gretsas Story – A Greek Tragedy

      If you follow local politics, ever, last night’s Commission meeting was not one to miss!

     Fort Lauderdalians had been waiting months to find out the fate of the controversial City Manager George Gretsas.

     Though all the details weren’t ironed out about his future as City Manager last night, one thing is for sure – Gretsas had a very bad night.
                                                                   feeling the pain

At first, things seemed to be going George’s way. The assembled crowd of citizens were overwhelming in their support of Gretsas. Some even coined it a ” Gretsas love fest”. One favorable commenter even compared the vibes to Woodstock!

     But then the hammer dropped!

       First in line was Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, Gretsas’s most outspoken critic.

     She blasted Gretsas, and then, in a “smoking gun” type moment, produced 18 employment contracts that she said Gretsas had signed shortly before the new Commission was sworn in. The contracts gave Gretsas a dastardly edge. It allowed Gretsas to “fire” those 18 employees, but in doing so award long expensive severance packages to them. Gretsas could cause the City some financial pain before he were let go.

                                                 Charlotte’s “smoking gun”

Then it was Commissioner Bruce Roberts‘ turn. In a blistering attack, Roberts, who has had a long and not so pleasant relationship with Gretsas, moved to not extend Gretsas’s contract, and the motion was seconded by Rodstrom.

                                                     Roberts – “off with his head!” 

       Not so fast,
cried out Gretsas’s Commissioner supporters, Rogers and Dubose. Both sang praises of Gretsas and seemed at times perplexed, and other times angry with their colleagues.
                       Dubose                                                                             Rogers    

And then there was Jack !  

As expected, the vote was two-two. Mayor Seiler would be the swing vote.

     No one knew what Jack would do, not even Jack. But as he sat listening to two of his colleagues’s fervent opposition to the Manager, Seiler decided he could not offer Gretsas another three year contract. He explained that it was Gretsas’s job to make a believer out of Rodstrom and Roberts, and he had failed to do so. The friction left behind could be crippling.

                                                       Seiler lectures the Manager

In one of the most open and transparent displays of political discourse I’ve ever witnessed, Seiler publicly told Gretsas he shouldn’t have pushed for a three year contract –

     – “didn’t I tell ya George? didn’t I tell you this morning not to go for the three or nothing approach?”  

Gretsas could only manage a weak  “yes, you did”. Seiler added that he had told Gretsas to get his support out to the meeting, do what he could.

     The meeting ended with a decision to discuss Gretsas’s future with the City at a future City Commission conference meeting, now that his contract had been officially “non renewed”. Gretsas has another ten months left on his current contract, and the door was left open (though just a tad) for a reconciliation down the road. 

     Gretsas could not be reached for comment.

     Stay tuned !   ………..  Tim      P.S. thanks to Cal Deal and Art Seitz for the great pictures! 


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