Below is a prepared statement that was released as High Springs City Manager Jeri Langman called for Vice-Mayor Bob Barnas to resign this morning, Friday, June 8.
My name is Jeri Langman. I am City Manager for the City of High Springs. I am here today to call for the resignation of Vice-Mayor Barnas for egregious and repeated Violations of the Charter of High Springs. The City of High Springs has a manager/commission form of government. The City Manager runs the day to day operations and the City Commission makes policy, which the Manager carries out. While it is true the City Manager serves at the pleasure of the City Commission, he or she serves at the Commission’s pleasure collectively, as a Board. The City Manager cannot be directed by any one Commissioner. Our City Charter is very clear:
Section 2.04. - Mayor.
(b) Duties. The mayor shall preside at meetings of the commission and shall be recognized as head of the city government for service of process, ceremonial matters, and execution of contracts, deeds, and others documents. The mayor shall have no administrative duties other than those necessary to accomplish these duties.
Section 2.05. - General powers of city commission.
All powers of the city shall be vested in the city commission except those powers specifically given to the charter officers or specifically reserved by this Charter to the electors of the city.
Section 3.04. - City manager—Powers and duties.
The city manager, when necessary, shall appoint, suspend, demote, or dismiss any city employee under his jurisdiction in accordance with law and the personnel rules, …….. The city manager shall direct and supervise the administration of all departments of the city except the offices of city clerk and city attorney and ….. shall see that all laws, Charter provisions, ordinances, resolutions, and other acts of the commission subject to enforcement by him are faithfully executed.
Section 2.06. - Commission-employee relationship.
Neither the city commission nor any of its members shall in any manner dictate the appointment or removal of any city employee except the charter officers, nor shall the commission or any of its members give orders to any employee other than commission orders to a charter officer. The commission or its members shall deal on all matters through the appropriate charter officer.
Since I was appointed City Manager Vice-Mayor Barnas has attempted to run the day to day operations of the City of High Springs by directing me to take various actions. He is a rogue Commissioner. I was directed by Barnas to fire Christian Popoli. I refused. Christian was a competent employee and I relied him to help me manage the City. Because I refused to fire him, Vice-Commissioner Barnas manipulated the budget to eliminate Christian’s position. Vice Mayor Barnas then pushed this budget change through the Commission without explaining his true motives to the public or even to all of the Commissioners.
I have voluminous e-mail from Vice Mayor Barnas where he has attempted to direct my every move in this office. He has done this without Commission approval or direction, or even knowledge by some of the other Commissioners. Every time he does this he is violating the Charter of the City of High Springs.
Vice Mayor Barnas has been attempting to negotiate contracts on behalf of the City of High Springs without Commission direction, approval or knowledge. This is a direct violation of the Charter of the City of High Springs. He has been writing letters on behalf of the City of High Springs without Commission direction, approval or knowledge. This is a direct violation of the Charter of the City of High Springs. He has been directing City staff on his own without my direction, approval or even knowledge. This is a direct violation of the Charter of the City of High Springs. He has constantly directed me to direct staff in a certain and specific manner and each time he does this he is violating the City of High Springs Charter. It is my duty as City Manager to see that all laws, Charter provisions, ordinances, (and) resolutions, …..subject to enforcement by (me)…. are faithfully executed.
Therefore, as a result of Vice Mayor Barnas’ repeated refusal to follow the law of the Charter of High Springs I am calling for him to do the right thing and step down from his position as a High Springs Commissioner immediately.
I will be filing a formal complaint with the State Attorney and Governor’s office as soon as the paper work is completed. Thank you all for coming.
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