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Judge dismisses charges against Springs commissioners

Judge Fred Berman on Wednesday dismissed charges against Coral Springs City Commissioners Vince Boccard and Tom Powers; the officials had been suspended on March 29 on allegations of violating the Sunshine Law. The two commissioners will be able to resume work as soon as the Governor issues orders reinstating them.

The two officials had met with Coral Springs police union members Michael Hughes and Christopher Swinson at Bru’s Room in Coconut Creek on March 11. It was alleged that they violated law by talking about city business outside of a public forum. Berman said that while it was an error of judgment on the officials' part to have the luncheon, they did nothing illegal.

Both Hughes and Swinson had testified Tuesday that the four spoke only about past issues at the meeting. When he dismissed the charges, Berman told prosecutor David Schulson that his witnesses, the two police officers, were "weak."

"I can't wait to get back on the dias on Sept. 7," a visibly elated Boccard said. "I missed six months but I intend to make up for lost time. I am passionate about my job and want to resume doing all I can for residents of Coral Springs."

"It feels great to be back," Powers said. "I am disappointed in the way things went the last few months. I believe the charges were politically motivated. I am saddened to see the criminal justice system being used for political purposes."

“I am elated not just for my colleagues, but for our community," Mayor Scott Brook said. "These men are good men, good leaders and they have always put this community first. I am eager to resume our work together and continue to fulfill our city’s mission to be the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

“I’m glad for Commissioners Boccard and Powers,"City Manager Michael Levinson said. "I’m also glad for the city. I look forward to regrouping and getting back to business as usual.”

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