Two Boynton Beach officials have lost their jobs, after an art project in the city was changed to replace the images of two black former fire chiefs with white faces.
City Manager Lori LaVerriere said in a statement on Saturday that she has terminated public arts manager Debby Coles-Dobay, and has also removed Matthew Petty as chief of the Boynton Beach Fire Rescue Department.
A few hours later, LaVerriere added that she and Petty “agreed that it is in the best interest of the city of Boynton Beach that we mutually separate employment.”
The move comes after a public mural that showed the images of two black former fire chiefs in the city was painted over with white faces.
“The decision made to alter the artwork that was approved by the Public Arts Commission was wrong and disrespectful to our community,” LaVerriere wrote.
She continued, “Every employee in the city of Boynton Beach works for its community. As a leader, I have been very clear that I will not tolerate any employee to be disrespectful, in any shape or form, to any members of our community.”
LaVerriere also said the decisions “difficult but necessary.”