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“We’re going to have to address leadership problems”: Gainesville mayor, commissioner react to resignations

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:27 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2021 at 7:23 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Teneeshia Marshall was the first charter officer to resign this year. In about four months’ time, the city attorney and city clerk followed suit with their own resignation letters.

“For all of these positions, you need to have the right fit,” said Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe.

As City Attorney Nicole Shalley and Clerk to the Commission Omichele Gainey announce their plans to leave their positions, Poe asked Gainesville Regional Utility General Manager Ed Bielarski to turn in a letter too.

RELATED STORY: Gainesville mayor asks GRU general manager to resign

TV 20 asked Bielarski for a statement but said his response to the mayor is all he’ll say. In an email to Poe, Bielarski mentioned he has no intention of leaving.

“Mr. Bielarski is no longer just the right fit for the city,” added Poe. “I had a very private conversation and was candid about that with him. I did not intend for him to take that public but that was his choice. You know, and it’s just important for both sides, the commission, and the charter officer, to feel good about that relationship for it to work.”

The City Clerk’s last day is in early October and the City Attorney plans to leave for another job come November.

“I’m disappointed because I’m going to miss working with them,” added Gainesville commissioner David Arreola.

RELATED STORY: Two Gainesville city charter officers resign.

Including commissioner Gail Johnson, four women have now parted ways with the city. Arreola said city employees need more support.

“We’re going to have to address leadership problems here at the city and that starts with the city commission. So this commission has a responsibility to demonstrate to employees that their concerns are heard and that we take them seriously but also that we’re willing to hold leadership accountable and we’re not going to kick the can down the road any further.”

An addition by Desmon Duncan-Walker to the commission’s regular meeting on Thursday now includes a proposal to terminate City Manager Lee Feldman.

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