Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

LC City Manager Paul Dyal, Looking for Loyalty –Gives City Workers Friday Afternoon Off With Pay

City Manager Paul Dyal with headline: City Manager Paul Dyal. What Price Loyalty? Who Pays?
Columbia County Observer photo & graphic

LAKE CITY, FL – Just when you thought City Manager Paul Dyal was out of surprises, he surprises. In advance of a three-day holiday for City workers, City Manager Dyal decided to give the City four extra hours of paid time off.

The Dyal Record

City Manager Dyal has a managerial track record that is an abomination to many and sterling to some. His antagonistic attitude has become more apparent the longer he is in office. His hostile attitude toward accomplished women is both documented and undocumented and has gone as far as having grievances against him disappear from his personnel file.

His reign over the City Utility Department is suspect, as is his rise to power, which occurred under City Manager Wendell Johnson.

When former Assistant City Manager Dan Sweat called the Utility Department the utility "mafia," this was considered a big joke and a badge of honor among Dyal and his supporters.

Mr. Dyal appears to value loyalty above all else and is not afraid to pay for it with taxpayer dollars, rubber-stamped by a City Council that fails to question just about anything.

The City Closure

Three days ago, August 30, City Manager Dyal had the City IT Director Mat Benedetti send out a City-wide employee email announcing that the City offices would be closing at 1 pm today, September 2, for Labor Day.

On August 31, when your reporter discovered the City-wide closing, he emailed City Manager Dyal, the Mayor, the HR Director, and the City Council the following:

Yesterday at 2 pm, you had Matt Benedetti send the above email [email announcing the closing], which in relevant part has you directing that Lake City be closed at 1 pm on Friday, September 2.

I have not been able to find anything in any FL statute, City Ordinance, City policy or procedure, City budget document, City Resolution, or anything else that gives the Lake City, City Manager, either interim or permanent, the authority to close down Lake City at 1 pm on this coming Friday on the eve of a three day Holiday.

Please explain, with supporting documentation, if you have any.

If you have calculated the cost of this closure, please forward that. If you have asked City Finance to calculate this cost, please forward or have finance forward.

If there is an HR Policy or some other policy somewhere that allows you to unilaterally close the City in a non-emergency situation, without approval of the City Council, please forward that.

Mr. Dyal, this is a matter of great public concern.

I am thanking you in advance for your consideration.

The Cost

Your reporter calculated the cost of closing the City Manager’s Office, the Clerk's Office, the Finance Dept., and IT for four hours. There were 17 employees used in the calculations. The City has approximately 220 employees.

Carrying the calculations across the City, the cost to shut the City down is approximately $33,000.

It is unknown where the money is coming from to pay for this.

As the City Council has not authorized this, it may be coming out of the City Manager's pocket.

Only One Member of the Council Responded

Your reporter has not heard from the Mayor, who was the driving force hawking Mr. Dyal for the city manager position and was his bankruptcy attorney, a fact that Mayor Witt did not disclose.

Neither Councilmen Jefferson nor Hill responded to the email.

Councilman Sampson told your reporter: "This is a concerning matter. I have found nothing that gives the City Manager the authority to shut down the City for four hours. I have reached out to City Attorney Koberlein for an opinion. I have not heard back. I will bring this up at the Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday."


Councilman Sampson added, “I am particularly concerned that City residents and others coming to do business with the City on Friday afternoon have received no notice that the City was closing. This is not good customer service.”

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