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LC City Manager Paul Dyal: $1/4 mil Severance - City Council Votes to Investigate Investigating

Community Activist Sylvester Warren – Lake City’s Black Rush Limbaugh – Weighed In

Ex LC City Manager Paul Dyal with photo of gift box
Photo: Northfolk via Unsplash  | Columbia County Observer graphic

LAKE CITY, FL – Former LC City Manager Paul Dyal’s $1/4 million illegally paid severance package is a gift that keeps on giving. On Monday night, May 6, the City Council and the City Clerk, hobbled by unfamiliarity with the City Rules of Procedure and a Mayor who had lost touch with the operation of the meeting, were left grasping in both discussion and motion-making.

Link to audio of Council Dyal deliberationsAfter almost twenty minutes of discussion of the Dyal $1/4 million Severance Deal, over-talking, interrupting, and public comment, the City Clerk tried to articulate a motion from what she heard.

During the meeting, the Clerk could not [did not] read back the motion before the vote and, by the end of business yesterday (May 9), could not produce the motion.

The City Council voted unanimously to hire or see about hiring outside counsel to investigate the Dyal severance issue.

Interim City Manager Dee Johnson
The severance discussion began with him

Mr. Johnson said, “In our December 27th (2023) meeting, we had direction from Mr. Sampson's motion to investigate the severance pay of Paul Dyal. He wanted us to reach out to our auditing services, James Moore…. I just basically need direction on where do you want me to go from here.”

The December 27, 2023, meeting covered both the last-minute gratuitous Dyal raises (the Council, on a split vote, voted against investigating) and Mr. Dyal's severance package.

Lake City City Attorney Todd Kennon
See: December 27, 2023: Prelude to City Attorney Kennon's Decision to Resign

Then Councilman Todd Sampson articulated the issues.

During the helter-skelterness of Monday’s discussion, the Council's newest member, James Carter, was the first to speak out against the Dyal Severance Package, objecting along the same lines as Mr. Sampson on December 27.

The citizens who commented to the City Council were also against the payout of anything to the resigned [he quit] Mr. Dyal and were incredulous that it even happened.

All were against Councilwoman Chevella Young’s recommendation to forget about it and move on.

Community Activist Sylvester Warren – Lake City’s Black Rush Limbaugh – Weighed In

Mr. Warren addressed the Council (@6:50):

Sylvester Warren: Community activist and Black Rush Limbaugh"There's no movin’ on. It's people that wanna move on because I know how that contract was established. I know what went on behind the scene, because I helped people behind the scene who came to me. And I know how that deal was worked out. That's number one. That's why most everybody wanna move on. No, let's not move on. No, no. You are right. I'm gonna tell you where you're wrong. You don't sue just Mr. Kennon’s firm, you sue his firm [Folds & Walker] as well. Because it was two firms that supposed to, had had a set of eyes on that contract. Because Mr. Kennon is always referring back to Mr. Martin, them law firm for information that he doesn't know. That was the beauty that they came to us and said, this is the dynamite package that you get, that you get all these attorneys." (file photo)

After some back and forth with Mayor Witt, Mr. Warren addressed Councilman Carter.

“I ask Mr. Carter that you make a motion, you be a man, don't move on, hold these attorneys responsible. It is not the mayor fault that he signed it, it's their fault for not checking it out, deliberately not doing their part, and putting it in his lap to sign.”

After Mr. Carter commented that he was “not interested in just moving on,” Mr. Warren added:

“Mr. Carter, as a matter of fact, I, I do you one even better. If you helped to move the lawsuit forward, I will be a star witness as to how the contract was executed, how it was written up, who was all involved in it, and how it got to that point. Because I was point man.”

Eileen Morilleau (@14:05) was the last public commenter. Ms. Morilleau addressed the Council [abridged]: I agree with Mr. Carter. That's a lot of money going out, and it's our money. When I say it's our money, I'm talking about all the citizens. I'm up here talking about Lake City as a whole, and I do believe that this should never have been paid out to start with. And the other thing is that I believe Mr. Sampson was here on the 27th of December, wasn't he? Was Mr. Dyal not paid up until February? So why was the money paid still after that? This is something I would like to know. No, I don't think that this should be let go of. I think that it should be taken care of, and I think the money should come back to the citizens of this City. Period. Thank you.

With No Rules of Decorum Holding Weight With Mayor Witt or the City Council, Making a Motion Became a Community Effort – Deciphering It Is Another Issue (@15:15)

Mayor Witt:    Okay. Alright. That's all I have.
Councilman Carter:    In order to, in order to officially, I just wanna make sure I, I wanna know who I'm asking. Am I asking the city manager? Am I asking the attorney?
Mayor Witt:    I'm not sure.
Councilman Carter:    Sorry. I like we 
Interim City Manager Johnson:    I can direct the motion. I mean, I'm not sure what the motion is. I'm sorry I stepped out. Um, but I would say you would not direct legal [Folds Walker] because they would have a conflict of interest, and they would need to refer back to the administration because we will have to procure some kind of legal counsel. I know we say we don't wanna hire somebody, but nobody works for free. So, we will be procurin’ a third party.
Councilman Carter: Um-Hmm. , I'd like to make, uh, I'd like to move to attempt to get outside legal counsel to investigate whether or not this is something we can apply for – E&O insurance – to recoup the losses.
Mayor Witt:    Would the motion be to have Dee look into it and come back to us with the recommendation?
Councilman Carter:    So moved.
Mayor Witt:    Instead of just saying we're hiring somebody that we don't even know?
Councilman Carter:    Yes. Yes. I would ask, I would ask, I would move to ask, uh, assistant, uh, I'm sorry, Interim City Manager Dee Johnson, to look into procuring outside legal counsel to pursue this.
Councilwoman Young:    The cost amount, as well as
Councilman Carter:    Sure.
Dee Johnson:    May I ask a question? Are we gonna base the question off of the motion that was made by Mr. Sampson on December 27th? Just look into it. What are we lookin’ into? I need a little bit more direction.
Councilman Carter:    Whether or not they believe we have a case, or, or a claim, or a suitable claim for Mr. Kennon's or Fold Walker. I don't know. Mr. Kennon was the acting attorney from what I understand. Uh, his E&O insurance.
Mayor Witt:    Okay. Is there a second?
Councilwoman Young:    So, when it comes back to us, when we get an answer from Mr. Johnson, we expect to have an answer along with an approximately amount of money that it would cost us?
Mayor Witt:    Not an answer as to the question, because the attorneys will have to be paid to get a look into it.
Chevella Young:    Right. I understand that.
Councilman Carter:    So, I think, if I understand it correctly, the next thing we will have is a quote, right?
City Clerk Audrey Sikes:    Probably a resolution with a contract for – to be considered as well.
Interim City Manager Johnson:  Yes. Yes.
City Clerk Audrey Sikes:     That will be what’s coming back with the contract via resolution for your consideration.
Mayor Witt:     Alright? Is there a second?
Councilman Jernigan:     I'll second for discussion.
Mayor Witt:     Okay.
Councilwoman Young:     For discussion? We just did this.
(There is no such thing in Robert's Rules as "second for discussion." - Ed.)
Councilman Jernigan:     No, you can – you’ll see that.
Mayor Witt: Well, all we're doin’ is just askin’ staff to look into it. We're not spending any . Anything else? Ms. Sikes, will you call the roll?
City Clerk Sikes called the roll:   Mr. Carter? Aye. Mr. Jernigan? Yes. Ms. Young? Yes. Mayor Witt? Yes 


It is said, ‘If you saw how sausage is made, you wouldn’t eat it.’

If the City paid attention and followed its ordinance, it would have deferred to Robert's Rules of Order on motion-making procedure.

It didn’t – resulting in another obvious Lake City mess.

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