Lake City approves manager swap, continues search

The Lake City Council accepted Interim City Manager Paul Dyal’s request to step down as city manager on Wednesday at a special meeting scheduled to interview candidates for the position.

Dyal stepped into the interim city manager role at the first of the year, replacing Mike Williams and adding to his responsibilities as utilities director. 

Williams held the position from September to December but left the role because of upcoming surgery. The council had already started the process to hire a new interim city manager. 

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Dyal’s resignation letter stated that recent events had drawn him away from his goal of leading and setting the example for city employees. 

“With that said, recent events on my part have put an undo negative light on this office, community, and you as the Council,” Dyal said in his resignation. “However, and most importantly to me, it has brought an undo negative light on the employees of this great City that I respect immensely.”

The council thanked him for his work and allowed him to return to the role as executive director of utilities.

Williams will take over again on April 9 under the same terms and conditions as before, hopefully to be replaced by a new manager found through the city’s search. 

However, that search continues to hit snags. In February, the council narrowed the choice to two candidates, but neither ended up with the job after the final candidate opted for a different job offer

The council interviewed three more candidates on Wednesday at the special meeting but left unsatisfied. 

“I’m not sure we found a candidate today at all,” Council Member Todd Sampson said. “Looking at the experience that I would expect an executive of this city to have, I don’t see it here.”

Sampson said he wasn’t ready to move forward with a second interview for anyone. He added that none of the candidates seemed above the rest like the two finalists from February. 

“We’ve been at this process a long time,” Mayor Stephen Witt said. “I don’t know how much more we can get by delaying it, but I’d rather get it right than just do it.”

However, Council Member Jake Hill Jr. said the city may as well move forward with Don Rosenthal, who the council agreed seemed the top of the three applicants, instead of returning to Williams as a placeholder. 

The board voted 3-1, with Hill in dissent, to move forward with Williams.


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