HIGH SPRINGS – On the evening before City Planner Christian Popoli was to serve his last day on the job, a High Springs commissioner brought up discussion in an April 5 meeting about other positions he thought were not working to their full potential.
Vice Mayor Bob Barnas announced that he had no confidence in the positions of City Clerk and the City Finance Services Director.
On Thursday, April 12, city commissioners will discuss Barnas’ remark about his lack of confidence in the City Clerk, a charter position, and its budget funding. As of Monday, Barnas’ only comment about his lack of confidence in the City Clerk position was “to come to the meeting on Thursday.”
“We have record losses that happened,” Barnas said during the April 5 meeting. “We have e-mails that were lost. We have tax parcels that didn’t get taken care of. I wanted to go on the record. I am not happy with the performance of the city clerk.”
Under the city clerk staffing section of the budget, Barnas read during the March 29 budget meeting that there were positions of deputy city clerk, city clerk, information technology supervisor and administrative clerk – student. However, only one position is salaried and funded, he said.
“But should we, before the end of the year, want an information technology person under city clerk, we could still do that?” Barnas asked Finance Services Director Helen McIver during the March 29 budget meeting. “We could move the city clerk, somehow, to city manager.”
McIver responded by saying that a budget adjustment would have to be made to move funds from one position to another, the same way the city moved funds from the city planner to the city engineer position.
Previous city managers, such as Jim Drumm, held the position for both the city manager and the deputy city clerk. Commissioner Linda Gestrin said the previous system worked well and that it might be something that should be looked at.
Commissioner Sue Weller said the city clerk position was moved away from the city manager to save money. When High Springs moved away from the city manager/city clerk position, the deputy city clerk position was eliminated.
As for the finance director, Barnas said there has been a constant waffling of how much money the city is over or under budget.
In a previous interview, McIver stated that it is still early in the year to analyze how the budget will be at the end of the year. She estimated that it would fall $75,000 short in the General Fund based on current trends, but that could change.
Barnas said he knows that under the City Charter he has no say over the position of the finance director, but he wanted to make his displeasure known.
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