GREENACRES — Greenacres Councilwoman Lisa Rivera was suspended from her elected position by Gov. Rick Scott this afternoon, two days after she was arrested in a scheme to steal money from Boca Raton Community School.
The governor’s order prohibits Democratic Party up-and-comer Rivera, 47, the wife of Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputy Vidal Rivera, from “performing any official act, duty, or function of public office; from receiving any pay or allowance; and from being entitled to any of the emoluments or privileges of public office.”
The order is open-ended and can only be rescinded by another order from Scott’s office.
In the interim, City Hall is advertising Rivera’s open District 1 seat to nominations.
The suspension comes two days after Rivera was charged with scheme to defraud, grand theft and official misconduct after a year-long investigation by the Palm Beach County schools police. She’s out on $10,000-bond.
Until 2015, Rivera was working as treasurer of the Boca high school. She is accused to stealing $23,085.85 from the school’s operating account then replace the money bit by bit by misreporting, or not reporting at all, the deposits of checks from parents, donors, students and teachers.
While fellow council members have been silent, Deputy Mayor Paula Bousquet yesterday said she hoped Scott’s office would act quickly and called the entire ordeal “a disgrace.”
— West Palm Beach’s out-of-town corporate media reported the arrest 10 hours after we did. Isn’t it time you, too, #dropthepaper and click here to subscribe to our daily news alerts?
Rivera was reelected to the council with no opposition in March. Because of a lack of scrutiny from the area’s corporate media, the voters were totally shielded from the fact she was told by schools police in October 2016 that she was under investgation.
The ethically-challenged Rivera, the first Hispanic on the city council, refused to recuse herself last year when the council voted to disband its police force and contract PBSO for police protection. Critics said at the time she stood to benefit from the vote because her husband, a 10-year veteran of PBSO, could have been rewarded for her actions.