Without his hard work and dedication, several council members said the City of Ocala could face a hard future without Nugent.
"I'll continue to work real hard for the City," Councilman Kent Guinn said. "But tonight, I'm embarrassed to be a City Councilman in the City of Ocala."
Some members of the Council and some citizens protested at the meeting that Nugent was pressured into retirement after comments made during a workshop last Wednesday,
"City Council has been uncomfortable with some of the decisions and some of the information that we've been given," Councilman Charles Ruse explained last week.
Others, however, said they believe the Council has been vindictive against Nugent on a personal level.
"To hear some of the comments that were made not only about the City Manager, but also the City of Ocala, about the Citizens of Ocala, about the employees of the City, it's really disgusting," Former Ocala Mayor E.L. Foster commented.
Nugent said he did not feel pressured out of the position, but he appreciated the show of support.
"It feels good after you work for a community for almost 25 years and bring yourself up through the ranks," he said.
According to Nugent, at this time Ocala is in the best financial position it's ever been, but some citizens said they fear the cost of finding a new manager will hurt the City.
"We'll have to spend money that they say we don't have to spend on other projects," Pamela Stafford said.
Several of the citizens who attended say the real problem was not with Nugent, it was with the City Council members and a lack of leadership; a problem Guinn said he intends to fix over the next four years of his term.
"God help the City of Ocala."
Under his resignation agreement, Nugent will continue as City Manager through July 2008, and then he will collect retirement for 25 years of service.
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News.
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