Gainesville City Commissioners withdraw motion to terminate GRU general manager

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT
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GRU general manager Ed Bielarski is back at work today after an effort by Mayor Lauren Poe to fire him failed late last night.

Last night’s special meeting was a chance to clear the air according to Bielarski, who’s encouraged following the commission’s decision to not terminate him.

Mayor Lauren Poe today says there was a motion to terminate the general manager because he was not a good fit for the role.

However, many at the meeting did not agree, particularly GRU employees. One employee told the commission “I’ve seen four general managers in my time who’s served at this utility. And without a doubt, Mr. Bielarski is at the top of the list.”

Many others also spoke in favor of him, which ultimately led to commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos withdrawing the motion to terminate him at the meeting.

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However, Mayor Poe says new demands and expectations have been set for Bielarski and that “there’s perhaps a bit of a probationary period and as long as he can follow through with those demands that were put forth by a few of the commissioners, including myself, then he’ll be in good standing and so we’ll look forward to working with him on those things.”

The mayor also spoke on his reaction to Governor DeSantis implementing fines for vaccine mandates, stating they will continue to do what’s best for the health and safety of their employees.

He also says the city will deal with the Governor’s warning when it is actually put into place.

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