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Lake City News

Lake City, Florida: Pay Issues and Resigned City Manager Paul Dyal Severance Issues Headline Tonight’s Special Council Meeting

Lake City City Manager Paul Dyal
Columbia County Observer photo & graphic

LAKE CITY, FL – Get ready, after the Rocky Ford zoning issues are resolved in City Hall this evening, the hinky Lake City Dyal 12th hour pay raise issues, followed by the Dyal severance issue, will be front and center before the City Council.

The Dyal Pay Raises

Nine months after Mr. Dyal was appointed City Manager, he resigned. The date of Mr. Dyal’s resignation letter is September 19, 2023.

Unknown to the City Council and only a close circle in Lake City, between September 18 and September 20, 2023. Mr. Dyal handed out seven significant pay raises. Then, on September 10, 2023, Mr. Dyal added one more. The City's status change forms are initialed in the bottom right-hand corner, but the initials are incomprehensible, as is some other information. Without being machine time-stamped, there is no sure way to know when the forms were executed or completed. Some status forms have electronic additions.

Councilman Todd Sampson initially noticed something wrong weeks ago and inquired about certain raises.

Click to enlarge spreadsheet.

Pay study increases were given from a pay study which was never accepted by the City Council. Both Mr. Dyal and Mr. Johnson gave increases based on the study, but the raises were not given to everybody. It is not known who else was given raises based on the study.

Some employees were given raises on promotions without job descriptions or updated job descriptions, which is why recently the Council has been approving new job descriptions. City employees have received 5% increases in each of the past two years. The adjustments in Mr. Sampson's inquiry go above and beyond those two increases.

The supporting pay information provided by HR Director BillieJo Bible for tonight’s meeting is useless for tonight’s Council deliberations.

Ms. Bible did not break out raises; folks who quit or were promoted. The City Council cannot come to any conclusion regarding the pay raises. Some of the raises would have been determined by bargaining units, some by "step" increase, and some possibly by the City Council.

Ms. Bible's 163 pages of spreadsheets in a PDF file don't say anything about Mr. Dyal's increases. Scroll down to See item number 2.

The salary study that former City Manager Dyal and Interim City Manager Dee Johnson used to give out selected raises was never presented to the City Council for review, approval, or anything else. The HR Department has been unable to locate the final version of the $22,000 study.

The "Work Product" designation (watermark) of the pay study was removed when nine pages of the Paypoint Salary Study were provided via a public record request.

Watermark on Paypoint salary study
Watermark missing from Paypoint salary study

It is Lake City, also the Land of the Columbia County 5, and the nine pages of “Recommended Salary Adjustments” are undated and give no indication who provided them.

The City Council may be served by hiring its auditors to do a financial analysis of the raise structure and dispersion of taxpayer funds from the time Mr. Dyal was Interim and City Manager through tonight.

The Dyal Severance Issue

The issue of Mr. Dyal’s severance payout was reported on December 20, 2023. Nothing has changed since then.

See: Ex-Lake City City Manager Paul Dyal's $ 1/4 Million Resignation Payout Questioned. After 9 Months on the Job, the City Council Is Asking Questions.

The questions asked on December 4 and emailed earlier to City Attorney Todd Kennon have not been answered.

1. Does your law firm(s) [RKK and Folds & Walker] dispute that Mr. Dyal resigned of his own free will?

2. What part of Mr. Dyal's contract authorized the Mayor to execute Appendix I without City Council approval? (Note: the appendix as approved on 2023-01-03 was filled with blank spaces which were completed and then executed on 2023-10-27).

3. If your firm has obligated the City to pay Mr. Dyal 16 weeks of pay and some benefits, Appendix I states this payment is not to sue the City. Is this wrong?

4. Does your E&O [errors & omissions insurance] cover the bogus payment of severance pay to Mr. Dyal, considering the City Council never approved the executed version of Appendix I?

City Attorney Kennon may answer those questions at this evening’s Council meeting.

The “never Council” approved Council Separation Agreement is here, as well as Mr. Dyal's payout.

It is unknown if Mr. Dyal will attend this evening's meeting.


The Lake City hole keeps getting deeper and deeper.

It looks like tonight will be another popcorn night in Lake City.

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