The Keystone Heights City Council voted Tuesday evening to allow its city manager to rescind her resignation and continue working for the city in a 4-1 vote with Mayor Karen Lake in dissent.
City Manager Lynn Rutkowski verbally resigned at a council meeting in February because of issues with Lake. The council didn’t accept the resignation and, at its March 7 meeting, asked Rutkowski to take 30 days and reconsider.
“I thought that I was giving you what you wanted when I resigned last Tuesday after receiving an email,” Rutkowski said on Tuesday.
Lake has pushed for the manager’s resignation after learning she hadn’t finished high school when applying at the city. At Tuesday’s meeting, Lake said the issue had nothing to do with Rutkowski’s work at the city or even education but the fact that she lied.
Lake said Rutkowski has lied to her before when asked about updates on city projects.
At Tuesday’s special meeting, Council Member Tony Brown voiced confidence in Rutkowski and asked for her to stay.
Brown called for the special meeting because he will be out of town for the council’s regular meeting on April 4 when the resignation item was scheduled to return.
He said conflict within the city government has lasted a while and needs to be resolved. Brown added that he’d received support for the city manager from local, state and even national officials.
“I don’t give a cat’s meow what kind of education our city manager has if the job’s getting done,” Brown said.
He also said a lot of the problem has been Lake and her comments on Twitter and Facebook.
On Feb. 7, Lake tweeted: “Evidently, you can lie about being a high school graduate and still win a $70k city manager job.”
She followed the tweet up the next day saying: “We hired a liar and high school dropout at $70k per year.#SMDH”
Brown also asked the city to look into malfeasance on the part of the mayor for conducting city business outside the council and city staff.
Lake asked Brown how far the city manager had to go before he stopped supporting her if lying wasn’t enough.
In the end, the council voted to rescind the resignation in order to keep Rutkowski. Council Member Stephen Hart also asked that the council discuss rules of conduct for its members at a special meeting set for May 1.