Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

Lake City Charter/City Manager Confusion
A Diversified Applicant Pool Not Restricted

LAKE CITY, FL – Following Monday's City Council city manager workshop the regularly scheduled City Council meeting was gaveled to order. Some members of the public were still talking among themselves regarding the city manager search and the revelations by City Manager Johnson regarding the experience required for the new city manager applicant. Between the workshop and the regular meeting long time Lake City resident and former Councilman Glenel Bowden asked to be put on the agenda. Mayor Witt granted his request.

Bowden: "A really important time in our community"

Glenel Bowden       (file photo)

Mr. Bowden addressed the Council, "The reason I asked to be put on the agenda is because this is really an important time in our community. Anytime you're gonna' select the person that's gonna' become the CEO as Mr. Johnson's been for the past nine years you have to be real serious about that process."

He continued, "For the past 40 plus years there's never been a minority City Manager and there never been a woman... You can encourage minorities to apply and womens to apply."

During City Manager Johnson's time as city manager he had either hired or maintained women and directors in City government including, the director of purchasing; the director of finance; the HR director. The City Clerk, who while hired at the discretion of the Council, is a woman. The Lake City Chief of Police was hired during Mr. Johnson's term and is also a woman.

The "Unconscious He"

Mr. Bowden said, "Ever time Mr. Johnson mentioned the City Manager, he said, 'He.' It probably was unconscious. It was he, he, he. We have got to start thinkin' along the terms of she and somebody else other than the white men that we had for the past 40 years here." 04:30

Mr. Bowden asked, "Is it in the charter that you have to have 10 years as a city manager?"

An unidentified council member answered, "Yes."

Mr. Bowden asked, "That was a charter amendment?"

An unidentified council member answered, "Yes."

Mayor Witt added, "And when it came up, I was against it, because even though it is somethin' that's good to have, it does restrict you as to who can apply"

Mr. Bowden asked, "Was that voted on?"

Mayor Witt answered, "By the community."

Mr. Bowden responded, "I must have been asleep at the wheel on that one."

The meeting continued with scheduled business.

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