“Making this decision is rewarding bad behavior”: Gainesville City Commissioners accept City Manager’s resignation with $100,000 severance pay

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 1:01 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville City Manager Lee Feldman submitted his resignation and commissioners voted 4 to 3 to accept Feldman’s resignation Monday night, despite Commissioner Gail Johnson and many residents calling for his termination as they said he doesn’t deserve $100,000 in severance pay.

“What you’re doing by making this decision is rewarding bad behavior,” Commissioner Johnson said.

Commissioner Gail Johnson turned in her resignation last month, one of the main reasons being because of Feldman.

In the meeting, she accused Feldman of finding his way around the proper procurement process multiple times by bringing consultants he had earlier worked with to the board.

She said City Attorney Nicolle Shalley, who has also resigned, pulled aside each commissioner to discuss the gray area.

Related story: Gainesville Commissioner Arreola reacts to City Manager’s resignation letter

“The people in the community see but it seems lost on many of my colleagues that the city manager has done this in this community and now we’re going to pay upwards of one hundred thousand dollars and y’all are going to keep home here....really?” Johnson asked.

Commissioner Reina Saco stood up for Feldman and implied he had no choice but to resign and other commissioners have put him in a hostile work environment.

“You constantly create a hostile environment, you constantly take it and say we are going to believe you in a little until you feel consistently worse about staying here and doing the job we tell you to do because you can’t convince colleagues to fire you,” Saco said to fellow commissioners.

Former Director of Office of Equity and Inclusion Teneesha Marshall and City Commissioner Gail Johnson both say they’ve experienced negative conduct from Feldman. Both have resigned.

The city attorney and clerk followed suit just last week.

Commissioner Desmond Duncan-Walker made a motion to fire Feldman late last month.

Arreola, Johnson, and Duncan-Walker voted in dissent to accept his resignation, preferring to not pay the six-figure severance package.

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