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Friday, May 24, 2024

Leesburg city manager survives termination resolution

Leesburg City Manager Al Minner
Leesburg City Manager Al Minner

Leesburg City Manager Al Minner survived a resolution to terminate his employment during Monday night’s commission meeting.

The resolution had been filed late Friday afternoon by Commissioner Alan Reisman.

Reisman read the letter he filed in support of the resolution into the record. He said that he felt that Minner had lied to him regarding conversations Minner had with Leesburg Police Chief Rob Hicks regarding Hicks being appointed as assistant city manager. He said he believed that Minner had exceeded his authority in offering Hicks the assistant manager position. He also said that Minner had told him that he had talked to four of the commissioners who he thought would support the appointment of Hicks, but did not discuss the matter with Commissioner Jay Connell, who is opposed to nearly everything Minner proposes. Reisman said he believed that Minner should have brought the Hicks matter before the commission.

Commissioner Jaay Connell, far right, speaks to City Manager Minner, at left, while Commissioner Alan Reisman.
Commissioner Jaay Connell, far right, speaks to City Manager Minner, at left, while Commissioner Alan Reisman.

Mayor Jimmy Burry asked City Attorney Grant Watson if Minner had the authority under the city’s charter to hire Hicks. Watson told the commissioners that the city charter gives the city manager the authority to hire employees without requesting the approval of the commission. Mayor Burry said that based on the city charter, hiring decisions are within Minner’s authority. He went on to say that the commissioner’s job, “is to see if he (pointing to Minner) or he (pointing at Attorney Watson) sit in that chair.”

Minner explained that that there may have have been some miss communication between Reisman and himself but that he did not intentionally deceive

the commissioner. Minner told the Commissioners and the overflow audience that he “trusts Rob Hicks who is a man a man of integrity.” he went on to say “that at the end of the day I put a quality person in a quality position that’s going to help the organization long term, wether I am here or not here”.

Commissioner Mike Peterson said “that he had worked with Al Minner for two and a half years and he trusts him explicitly. Everyone knows the great job he has done for the city and we need to keep Al Minner here.” The audience erupted in applause to the commissioner’s comment .

Commissioner Jay Connell said, “that he has basically fired a commissioner when he will not talk to that guy no more he don’t care want that commissioner has to say, that is a real problem.” Commissioner Allyson Berry was supportive of the city manager.

When Mayor Burry asked if any persons in the audience wanted to comment on the resolution 13 residents stepped forward including former mayors and commission members. The first speaker, Ted Bowersox, set the tone for everyone who commented on the matter when he said “that gentleman you have sitting here is A+.” Dan Magruder, CEO of ROMAC Building Supply said that Al Minner was “the best city manager we have ever had, no doubt about that.”

When the public comments were ended Mayor Burry called the question. Commissioner Reisman who had filed the resolution acknowledged that Minner had done a good job as city manager and even though he thought Minner told a lie he voted no on the resolution as did the mayor, Commissioners Berry and Commissioner Mike Pederson. When the vote came to Commissioner Connell indicated he expressed his disappointment that the city manager did not welcome his input and voted yes to fire Minner.

The audience cheered when Minner was retained as city manager.

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