The Gainesville City Commission appointed a new interim city manager Tuesday after the previous city manager resigned.
City manager Lee Feldman resigned Sept. 13 following the resignation of three other city charter officers, including City Commissioner Gail Johnson. She said she resigned partially because of Feldman’s retention after an investigation into gender discrimination and retaliation complaints. Feldman’s last day with the city will be Nov. 12.
Cynthia Curry, the newly-appointed interim city manager, is currently a consultant at the Everglades Foundation, which works to restore and help the Florida Everglades. She has also previously worked as a consultant in Gainesville’s city manager’s office and worked as a senior advisor in Miami-Dade’s county government, according to her resume.
Curry was chosen out of 10 other candidates who applied for the position.
“I commit to the invigorating and restorative work involved in working together with the Commission and staff to reevaluate and reset our focus on mutual respect,” Curry wrote in her cover letter for the position.
By Oct. 21 the commission plans to vote on Curry’s contract after it negotiates the contract terms. If negotiations fail, the commission voted the city’s current assistant city manager Fred Murry as a backup interim city manager.
The commission plans to discuss appointing a permanent city manager position and other interim positions early next year, Mayor Lauren Poe said.
After the commission voted to appoint Curry, several citizens spoke during public comment, many of whom said they would have preferred residents to have input before a final list of candidates was made.
Poe said he will work with the community when permanent positions are considered, including holding community meetings and meet-and-greets with finalists for the permanent position.
During the meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Reina Saco spoke in support of Curry. She said Curry was the best candidate for the city’s growth and healing because her experience in Gainesville is helpful for understanding the city.
“She knows what our communities are like,” Saco said. “She has enough awareness, but I think that a fresh, mostly outside perspective for our organization is best.”
Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker also supported Curry. She said Curry can help the city move forward with her goal of using teamwork to rebuild community and trust.
“I think for us as a city right now, the concept of team is incredibly important,” she said. “We're all one big team. This candidate really drove that home.”
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.