Broward Inspector General Closes Inquiry Into Lazy Lake, 'Urges' Village To Hold Election In 2020
The Broward County Office Of The Inspector General has closed its most recent inquiry into the smallest municipality in the county: The Village of Lazy Lake.
The Village of 15 houses is surrounded by Wilton Manors - and has a history of experiencing election issues.
The Broward Office of the Inspector General finds, "good cause to believe that the Village of Lazy Lake is not properly governed."
The office released in a closing memo for its inquiry on Wednesday. It reads in part:
"The Broward Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has closed its most recent inquiry into the governance of the Village of Lazy Lake after concluding that there is good cause to believe that individuals are now governing the village in violation of the state constitution, state statutes, and village charter."
The memo, from County Inspector General John. W. Scott also advised the village government on how to move forward:
"We also concluded that, if the village holds a proper election in March 2020 for mayor and the five seats on the council, the village will then be governed in accordance with the law," the memo states in part. "We urge, in the strongest terms, that the village hold an election in March and thereafter institute reforms to prevent this grave error from being repeated."
The OIG inquiry was a follow-up to a previous investigation into Lazy Lake, in 2014.
"That investigation determined that the village’s clerk, mayor, and council engaged in misconduct including apparent violations of open meetings (Sunshine) law and constitutional, statutory, and charter requirements that the village be governed by properly qualified elected officials," the Wednesday memo states.
The new inquiry to see if Lazy Lake had come into compliance officially began in November of 2018, after the office determined that the village did not hold an election that year as required by the village charter.
The inspector general found that quote, "The village should have conducted an election in March 2018, but it did not."
Lazy Lake's current mayor, Evan Anthony, told WLRN Wednesday that the village plans to hold an election next year.
"This little tiny municipality pulled itself together," Anthony said. "First order of business is to get the election done."
Anthony said it is difficult to bring such a small operation into compliance.
"I have worked tirelessly to make sure that the postings are done, the meetings are done.... and made this thing right," he said. "It was a lot of work. It's a big, big job ahead of me for the election. It just shows you how much work government requires."
There were previous concerns from some residents about the mayor not residing in the village he governs. Anthony responded by telling WLRN that he recently moved, and that he intends to continue to live in Lazy Lake. He said he will most likely run for mayor of the village in the upcoming election.
"I believe I will," he said. "The hope is to keep [the village] a beautiful sanctuary."
You can read the closing memo from the Broward Office of the Inspector General in full below: