The Gainesville city manager resigned after citizens complained about him during a city commission meeting.
On Dec. 11, Anthony Lyons sent in his letter of resignation, which will effectively end his tenure in February. Two days later, the City Commission unanimously approved the resignation. Lyons had worked with the city for more than a decade.
Lyons could not be immediately reached for comment.
At a previous city meeting on Dec. 8, several citizens said there were many employees who left under Lyons’ time as city manager during public comment.
Juanita Miles Hamilton said she disliked how the city has a “slot-machine” type of management because more than 10 city employees have recently left their positions.
“You’re losing employees left and right. What’s going on?” Hamilton said.
Another person during public comment said the high amount of turnover in employment is likely due to a discord in environment and lack of focus on civilian needs.
“We need you to slow down getting rid of employees who were here long before you were in office,” another said to the commission. “Please revisit these resignations.”
Gainesville’s wealth comes from its people and natural beauty, not the prioritization of big businesses like UF, one citizen said.
“Gainesville is not a Silicon Valley startup,” she said .”Looking good in a magazine is not a marker of true success.”
After public comment in regards to Lyons, Gainesville City Commissioners Gail Johnson, Helen Warren and Gigi Simmons said they heard the concerns of residents and were tired of the
amount of turnover seen in city employment.
“I’m interested in the truth, I’m interested in transparency, and I’m interested in trust,” Johnson said “And I’m interested in the integrity of this office and this entire city.”
During the Dec. 13 meeting and discussion of Lyons’s resignation, citizens and officials praised the work he has done with the city -- a contrast to what those said at the prior meeting.
“He believes that it is time for him to move on and make a change,” Mayor Lauren Poe said.
This resignation also comes after the resignation of assistant city manager Fred Murry on Nov. 17 and a six-hour long commission meeting where residents spoke out against the gnvRISE program, which is an amendment to the affordable housing program for the city.
In Lyon’s resignation letter, he requested to voluntarily resign from employment on Jan. 18 and receive 20 weeks of severance pay. Within it, Lyons also wrote about his success with projects such as Depot Park, Helyx Bridge and Innovation Square.
Lyons wrote that the resignation was previously discussed with Poe.
“I have enjoyed seeing the City prosper in numerous ways and will forever look at this time with fondness and pride,” Lyons wrote. “I believe I have led the city in all of my roles with professionalism, care and the utmost integrity.”
Gainesville City Manager Anthony Lyons speaks during the 2018 State of the City Address on Wednesday at the Gainesville Police Department.