Stew Lilker’s

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Lake City’s City Council Is About To Choose a New City Manager: What Is It Going To Do? How Is It Going To Do It?

Woman in middle of road with map. Caption: Lake City is choosing a city manager. What's the plan?
Image by lang11 via Pixabay | Columbia County Observer graphic

widget-city-manager-storiesLAKE CITY, FL – Tonight, the City Council is meeting for its first meeting of the year. This coming Friday evening, the Council will be meeting to eat cheese and rub some flesh, "meet & greet," and then on Saturday morning do something else: exactly what is anybody's guess. The subject is not on this evening's agenda, and like almost everything else this City Council has done – there is no plan.

See: Lake City 2021: The Number One Story in Columbia County Was Lake City


By the time Lake City chooses its next city manager, it will have gone through three interim city managers in the four months since City Councilman Chris Greene resigned.


Tonight, the Council is meeting for its first meeting of 2022. Its agenda came out on Thursday, December 30 at 3:39 pm, nine minutes after the City closed down for a four-day New Year's holiday.

Columbia County and most responsible agencies have their agenda material prepared a week before their meetings.

The City Clerk works for the City Council. Last year, without objection from the City Attorney or the City Clerk – they were involved in the rulemaking – the Council approved a rule change whose essence is, “The Clerk gets the agenda done when she gets it done.”

The City Manager Search

The City Manager search has been a fiasco right out of the gate. The purchasing director told the Council that the headhunter search needed to be put out to bid. She was blown off.

The Council violated the Sunshine Law by using its handpicked headhunter, Renee Narloch, as a liaison (intermediary) instead of discussing its City Manager requirements and other things in public.

Now, with virtually no public planning or discussion, the City Council will be having a COVID 19-Omicron variant spreader event, which they are calling a “meet and greet” in City Hall this coming Friday evening.

The "meet and greet" will be followed up by another COVID-19 event on Saturday morning, beginning at 9 am in the City Council Chambers.

The City Council’s input into this process is entirely under the radar, as it appears Ms. Narloch is handling the scheduling and coordination.

What’s the Plan?

Who is designing the questions for the candidates? If the Council members have input, how are they doing that?

Will time be set aside for the public to ask questions? How will that work? Does the Council care about the public?


With nothing on this evening’s agenda about the City Manager search moving forward, one would be hard-pressed not to think all the discussions and planning are going on under cover of darkness.

Lake City: it continues to devolve.

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