Three assistant city managers at Gainesville’s City Hall received termination notices on Monday in a staff reorganization led by the new city manager.
Interim City Manager Cynthia Curry, who took the reins in November, announced the reorganization in a Monday memo to the city commission.
“The primary element of the new organizational environment centralizes our management structure to ensure consistency in messaging, direction, operating policies and support,” Curry said in the memo. “This unified approach will increase our ability to leverage the talents and skillsets of community builders throughout the organization as we embrace the ‘One City’ mantra.”
The terminated assistant city managers were Fred Murray, who has been with the city since 2007 and was the runner-up for Curry’s position; Deborah Bowie, with the city since 2019; and Andrea Agha, hired in August 2021.
Curry also announced the creation of a chief operating officer, temporarily filled by Police Chief Tony Jones, and the city will search for an executive chief of staff to the city manager and a chief housing strategist—a position already included in the operating budget.
The Department of Budget and Finance will become the Department of Financial Services, and the position of controller will be added to the department to, in part, make up for the lack of a certified public accountant in a managerial role. Another position will also be added to the department to assist with contract management.
The Office of Strategic Initiatives will grow into the Department for Strategy, Planning and Innovation. This new department will also absorb the Office of Technology and Innovation and the Budget Division, currently housed within the Department of Budget and Finance.
The current restructuring comes after a turbulent staffing year at City Hall with the majority of the charter officers resigning that included City Manager Lee Feldman, City Attorney Nicolle Shalley, and Director of Equity Teneeshia Marshall.
Only City Clerk City Clerk Omichele Gainey and GRU General Manager Ed Bielarski stayed put, but both of them also came close to leaving. Bielarski was asked to step down from his post before the commission changed its mind, and Omichele posted a resignation before rescinding it a week later.