The Gainesville City Commission will decide whether to terminate City Manager Lee Feldman at a meeting on Sept. 16.
Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker added a discussion on Feldman’s termination to the agenda for the next city commission meeting Sept. 16. This follows Commissioner Gail Johnson’s Aug. 23 resignation announcement, which she said was partially because of Feldman’s employment.
Duncan-Walker did not respond to The Alligator about why she decided to add the discussion to the agenda.
Three other city employees have resigned in the last four months, including former Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion Teneeshia Marshall, who oversaw an investigation into Feldman. Feldman had been accused of gender discrimination and retaliation against a coworker in November 2020, and an independent attorney found sufficient evidence for retaliation.
Marshall said she resigned due to a toxic work environment and noncompetitive pay, according to her exclusive interview with WCJB.
City attorney Nicolle Shalley and city clerk Omichele Gainey submitted their letters of resignation Sept. 8. Shalley wrote in an email to the commission that she had accepted a position as Levy County’s attorney, and Gainey did not explain why she was resigning.
City Commissioner David Arreola said there was a lack of communication and collaboration between the city manager’s office and some employees who resigned, including Marshall and Shalley.
There were times where Shalley didn’t receive any communication from the city manager’s office prior to meetings, making it difficult for her to do her job, Arreola said.
“The issue was they weren’t getting information,” he said. “They didn’t feel as though they had an officer who wanted to work on the same team.”
Mayor Lauren Poe also asked Gainesville Regional Utilities General Manager Ed Bielarski to resign Sept. 10. Poe said he asked Bielarski to resign because he wasn’t the right person for the job at this time.
“These are important positions, and both folks, the charter officer and the city commission who directs them, have got to have a high functioning relationship,” he said. “It just has to feel like the right fit. You could have a completely competent person but if it’s not a good fit moving both ways then it’s going to be less than effective.”
Poe told CBS4 Bielarski said he will not be resigning.
The City of Gainesville still operates as a strong organization, including the attorney’s office, the clerk’s office and GRU, Poe said.
“Services will still be provided, and we will work on filling those positions with somebody that will be the right fit for the right time being,” he said.
Contact Meghan at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on Twitter @meggmcglone.
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.