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New interim city manager, mayor for Midway

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By Cheri Harris

Midway council members voted unanimously to hire a new interim executive director at the regular city council meeting Thursday, Sept. 5.

Council members hired Dorothy Inman-Johnson.

Mayor Jerrod Holton resigned as mayor and from the council at the meeting. Angelia Goldwire, Midway finance and administration, said the resignation was expected.

“In the last meeting he stated that he would do that, and he did,” she said. 

Inman-Johnson is a former Tallahassee mayor and retired as executive director of the Capital Area Community Action Agency.

Former Gadsden Commissioner Eugene Lamb told the council, “I think you’re making a very wise choice.” He told council members they were in trouble.

“You’re bringing in a good person here. Please let Ms. Johnson do her job. Don’t micro-manage her while she’s trying to do her job. She’ll bring you out of this.”

That statement earned applause.

Council members also voted unanimously to pay the city’s bills — if funds were available.

During discussion on the city’s annual budget for FY 2013-2014, which starts Oct. 1, Johnson said she needed to meet with the city’s departments and take another look at the budges, taking cues from what happened this year and making some forecasts.

“It’s really the city manager’s job to get through these things before they get to you,” she said, addressing the council.

The council will meet for a special budget workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, followed by a closed client-attorney session to review lawsuits the city is facing. 

David Knight, District 6 at large, became mayor following Holton’s resignation.

Council members also voted 5-1 to terminate Leslie Steele’s contract as an independent contractor providing public relations services for the city. She was brought on by former city manager Auburn Ford Jr. Council Member Charlie Smith cast the dissenting vote.

Knight said he saw Steele working at city events, particularly the fire station dedication and the Fourth of July celebration, but he thought she could be volunteering her services.

Council members discussed whether or not they could afford to pay Steele and whether or not they were legally obligated to do so because they had no contract with her in their records, which had been seized and then released as part of an ongoing joint FDLE and FBI investigation, and after requests Steele had yet to provide a copy of the contract.

Henry Hunter, city attorney, raised the issue of whether or not Ford was authorized to enter into a contract with Steele, which was for $2,500 per month as a flat rate for her services, because the city manager is not authorized to spend more than $5,000 without council approval.

Inman-Johnson was introduced to the council during discussion about the fire station construction project and whether or not the city would be able to borrow money to complete the planning and installation of a storm water pond. Council members voted 4-3 to table the matter until Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity issues a detailed monetary report telling the city how much money it will release for the project.

Holton told the council Goldwire had been wearing several hats and needed assistance. He said Inman-Johnson would be willing to work for deferred compensation. Holton made the motion to hire Inman-Johnson as interim city manager.

“We need her help,” he said.