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Thursday, February 29, 2024

City of Gainesville Commissioner Gail Johnson announced her resignation during a city commission meeting Monday.

In a Facebook post reiterating her speech at the meeting, Johnson wrote that she decided to resign because she found it difficult to do her job of advocating for underserved residents of Gainesville. 

In the speech, she mentioned several concerns leading to her resignation, such as “the retention of the city manager” Lee Feldman and the lack of commitment to racial and gender equity in the city’s leadership.

“I can do any challenging job as long as I see the path, as long as I see a light at the end of the tunnel,” she wrote on Facebook. “I no longer see the path that will allow me to continue serving the people of Gainesville in the way I know you deserve.”

City Manager Lee Feldman was accused of gender discrimination and retaliation against a coworker in November 2020, in which Civil Litigation Attorney Robert Clayton Roesch found sufficient evidence for retaliation but not gender discrimination. Johnson voted against keeping Feldman in his position but was outnumbered.

Johnson also attributed her resignation to concerns over certain promises and projects, including Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area project to help fund development in East Gainesville and underserved communities. Additionally, she mentioned her concerns with “strained relationships” with Alachua County and other organizations, including UF and Alachua County Public Schools.

“I’m resigning, because people often don't remember the individual contributions a commissioner makes to the body, they remember the decisions of the entire body,” she wrote. “I no longer wish to be associated with the decisions of the majority voice of this body.”

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe wrote in a statement he was sad to hear of Johnson’s resignation but he respected her decision.

“She has served with purpose and compassion,” he wrote. “I respect her decision but will miss her voice on the commission.”

Commissioner Johnson did not respond to The Alligator’s text message or phone call regarding the decision to resign as of Monday afternoon.

Her last meeting will be Sept. 23, and she plans to leave city hall a week later. She wrote that she will work with the city to add a special election discussion to a general policy meeting on Aug. 26.

Johnson ended her speech and post with a thank you to residents of Gainesville.

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“I admire the way so many of you care and show up,” she wrote. “Because of advocacy and activism in this city, I remain hopeful.”

Contact Meghan McGlone at Follow her on Twitter @meggmcglone.

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Meghan McGlone

Meghan McGlone is a UF junior majoring in journalism and English, and this year she’s the City and County Commission reporter. In past years, she’s served as the University Editor, the Student Government reporter, and other positions. Her favorite past time is eating gummy worms and reading a good book.

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