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HIGH SPRINGS – After a debate that has stretched over the course of several months, the High Springs Commission finally decided on Thursday, Aug. 16, in a 3-2 vote to begin advertisements for a new city manager.

Vice Mayor Bob Barnas previously proposed moving forward with advertising at an earlier meeting on Aug. 9. During Thursday’s discussion, the motion to advertise passed with Barnas, Commissioner Linda Gestrin and Mayor Dean Davis voting in favor of the measure.

According to the ad that will be placed in several newspapers and web sites, the City is looking for a new city manager until a closing date of Sept. 26. Applicants should have three to five years experience, as well as preferred experience in finance.

Current City Manager Jeri Langman said she does not intend to apply for the position because she doesn’t think her application would be accepted. However, she did send a letter to the commission to correct what she believes are misconceptions spoken about her on the dais.

“I have never said I wanted to retire,” she wrote. “I have done my best as a manager and I have done my job under very trying circumstances. I have made the upmost effort to steer the city in the right direction. I have earned this position.”

Langman also states that when the commission made her a permanent manager, she acquired certain rights afforded to her by the High Springs City Charter. She claims that her termination and the removal of the rights must occur pursuant to the charter guidelines.

“I have Whistleblower rights under Florida law,” she stated in her letter.

Langman wrote in her letter that the rift between her and the commission started after she issued a press release calling for Barnas to resign because of several alleged charter violations on his part. Subsequently, the vice mayor appeared on radio talk shows stating he wanted Langman terminated, as well as trying to rally support for the action, Langman said.

During the meeting on Aug. 9, Barnas announced in the final moments of the meeting that he wasn’t happy with Langman, and he claimed the memorandum of understanding, which outlines her terms of employment, stated that she was a temporary employee helping High Springs until a permanent manager could be brought on.

However, there seems to be some disagreement among the commission on that point as Davis said during Thursday’s meeting that Langman was not temporary, but had been voted in as a permanent city manager. In an unannounced move by the commission at the Feb. 9, 2012 meeting, Langman made the transition from interim to permanent city manager.

Commissioners Sue Weller and Scott Jamison take issue with the process the other three commissioners are taking to effect Langman’s removal from office, characterizing the action as unethical.  Weller has stated that the special meetings, originally scheduled as budget workshops, are not the place to discuss the future of the city manager.

The matter should instead be placed on an agenda during a regular commission meeting. Citizens do not expect the future of their city manager to be discussed during a budget meeting, Weller said.

Jamison argued that seeking a new hire for a position which an employee is currently occupying is wrong.

“Just because it’s legal to do it, doesn’t make it right. What’s going on right now is wrong,” he said during the Aug. 9 meeting.

In her letter, Langman detailed that the commission majority has left the City unable to balance the budget, especially in the face of grave economic times. The majority of the commission refuses to increase taxes, yet the City is struggling with sewer debt, the cost of bringing back a city run emergency dispatch enter and draining contingency funds.

“Why did Commissioner May resign? Why have two City Attorneys resigned?” she wrote. “It is because the Commission majority is damaging the City beyond repair.”

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Email awilliamson@alachuatoday.com

 

HIGH SPRINGS – After a debate that has stretched over the course of several months, the High Springs Commission finally decided on Thursday, Aug. 16, in a 3-2 vote to begin advertisements for a new city manager.

Vice Mayor Bob Barnas previously proposed moving forward with advertising at an earlier meeting on Aug. 9. During Thursday’s discussion, the motion to advertise passed with Barnas, Commissioner Linda Gestrin and Mayor Dean Davis voting in favor of the measure.

According to the ad that will be placed in several newspapers and web sites, the City is looking for a new city manager until a closing date of Sept. 26. Applicants should have three to five years experience, as well as preferred experience in finance.

Current City Manager Jeri Langman said she does not intend to apply for the position because she doesn’t think her application would be accepted. However, she did send a letter to the commission to correct what she believes are misconceptions spoken about her on the dais.

“I have never said I wanted to retire,” she wrote. “I have done my best as a manager and I have done my job under very trying circumstances. I have made the upmost effort to steer the city in the right direction. I have earned this position.”

Langman also states that when the commission made her a permanent manager, she acquired certain rights afforded to her by the High Springs City Charter. She claims that her termination and the removal of the rights must occur pursuant to the charter guidelines.

“I have Whistleblower rights under Florida law,” she stated in her letter.

Langman wrote in her letter that the rift between her and the commission started after she issued a press release calling for Barnas to resign because of several alleged charter violations on his part. Subsequently, the vice mayor appeared on radio talk shows stating he wanted Langman terminated, as well as trying to rally support for the action, Langman said.

During the meeting on Aug. 9, Barnas announced in the final moments of the meeting that he wasn’t happy with Langman, and he claimed the memorandum of understanding, which outlines her terms of employment, stated that she was a temporary employee helping High Springs until a permanent manager could be brought on.

However, there seems to be some disagreement among the commission on that point as Davis said during Thursday’s meeting that Langman was not temporary, but had been voted in as a permanent city manager. In an unannounced move by the commission at the Feb. 9, 2012 meeting, Langman made the transition from interim to permanent city manager.

Commissioners Sue Weller and Scott Jamison take issue with the process the other three commissioners are taking to effect Langman’s removal from office, characterizing the action as unethical.  Weller has stated that the special meetings, originally scheduled as budget workshops, are not the place to discuss the future of the city manager.

The matter should instead be placed on an agenda during a regular commission meeting. Citizens do not expect the future of their city manager to be discussed during a budget meeting, Weller said.

Jamison argued that seeking a new hire for a position which an employee is currently occupying is wrong.

“Just because it’s legal to do it, doesn’t make it right. What’s going on right now is wrong,” he said during the Aug. 9 meeting.

In her letter, Langman detailed that the commission majority has left the City unable to balance the budget, especially in the face of grave economic times. The majority of the commission refuses to increase taxes, yet the City is struggling with sewer debt, the cost of bringing back a city run emergency dispatch enter and draining contingency funds.

“Why did Commissioner May resign? Why have two City Attorneys resigned?” she wrote. “It is because the Commission majority is damaging the City beyond repair.”

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