Typography

Facing termination, High Springs City Manager Jim Drumm resigned last week.

With his departure finalized, and an election that will change at least one, and possibly two faces on the city commission, looming less than a week away, Jenny Parham continues to act as Interim City Manager and City Clerk.

At a last-minute afternoon meeting on Oct. 21, the city commission gave unanimous approval to accept a resignation agreement from Drumm.

Subsequently, the public hearing on the subject scheduled for later that evening was cancelled, as Drumm was no longer being terminated, but rather stepping down.

The terms of his resignation included a $66,433.80 check to be made out to the former city manager as soon as the agreement was signed into effect.

Drumm will also retain city health insurance, including family coverage, for the next six months, and the city gave him a neutral reference letter for future employers.

Under the agreement, Drumm fully releases and settles any and all claims related to his employment with the city.

Before casting his vote last Thursday, Commissioner Larry Travis, who was the only one to vote against Mayor Bill Coughlin’s motion to terminate the city manager several weeks ago, said he still thinks the mayor’s move was “ship-shod and fool-hardy,” and he didn’t think Drumm should go.

But because he submitted his resignation, Travis said he would vote to approve it.

The letter Drumm sent contained only two sentences:

“I, James D. Drumm, hereby resign as City Manager and City Clerk of the City of High Springs effective October 21, 2010 at the close of business. It has been an honor to have served the City of High Springs.”         

Parham was working as City Deputy Clerk under Drumm until the Sept. 27 meeting when Coughlin made the motion to fire him. The commission placed him on paid leave and appointed her to oversee his duties.

Commissioner John Hill said he’d like to see her take the position permanently, but he knows she doesn’t want to, and he respects that.

“She’s a very capable young lady,” he said.

“She’s very quiet in her manner, but she’s very efficient in what she does.”

Now Drumm is gone, and Parham is for the time being acting City Manager.  And because two commission seats are up for election on Nov. 2, the majority of current commissioners agree it’s pointless to talk about selecting a new city manager until after the results.

Five candidates are vying for the open two seats.  Coughlin is running for reelection for the seat he currently holds while Hill, who was appointed, is not seeking election.

The new commission will be seated Nov. 18. Until then, four of the five current commissioners indicated they don’t plan on bringing up the issue of who should replace Drumm.

Coughlin could not be reached for comment.

Commissioner Dean Davis agreed that Parham is doing a good job. It seems, he said, that everything is running smoothly.

Hill, as well as Commissioner Larry Travis, noted that the process to find a permanent replacement will be a lengthy one, and once it begins, it’s going to take time.  

And Travis stressed that the city commission should take time to figure out what it wants before it starts looking.