published: Friday, January 25, 2013
City council accepts Miller's resignation
Fire chief Willie Morgan in charge until replacement can be found
roxanne brown | Staff Writer
Groveland Council members have agreed to accept the resignation of City Manager and Finance Director Dolly Miller, putting Fire Chief Willie Morgan in charge until a permanent replacement can be found.
During an emergency meeting Thursday, Mayor Jim Gearhart -- after consulting with city Attorney Anita Geraci -- said no public comments would be forthcoming. Miller spoke briefly, thanking the city staff, the council and the residents of Groveland.
She offered no explanation for her reason for resigning. She submitted her resignation last week. Miller's last day is Feb. 7.
Morgan will fill in as city manager until a replacement is hired. He grew up in Groveland and started serving as a volunteer firefighter in 1974 before being hired as chief in 1999. A general contractor, he has served on the city council for 10 years.
The council directed Geraci to begin a city manager search, conduct interviews and develop a short list of four to five potential candidates. Council members agreed she could use potential candidates as suggested by the Range Riders organization -- a group of retired managers who help cities -- along with any resumes that Clermont may make available after its search for an assistant city manager.
Gearhart said the vacancy presents a good opportunity for Groveland.
"I would like to see us explore all our options and really find the best fit and one who has only the best interest of the city and the citizens at heart, as I and the rest of the council do," he said. "I also want someone in the position who is aggressive in promoting new businesses and growth in the city. I'm not saying that isn't being done currently, but only that that's what I want for our future, too."
Gearhart said Miller's $117,000 annual salary was too high for a city the size of Groveland.
Gearhart said hiring a new finance manager will be the new city manager's decision.
"Who knows, our new city manager might be a finance person, too," Gearhart said.
Resident George Rosario, who attends most city meetings, said he wishes Miller well.
He said he wonders if division within the city prompted Miller's resignation.
"There are people who have their own personal agendas and you can't have that when you are trying to do good for the city," he said. "You just get fed up."
Rosario said he was pleased public comments were prohibited during the meeting.
"This was an emergency meeting and no comments were required," he said. "It was business as usual but on a different level and there was no room for further division and confusion." he said. "But as for Mrs. Miller, I really wish her well. She was a transparent and very intelligent lady. I thank her for the work she's done and I wish her the best in her decision to move on."