Palm Bay: Draining Of The Swamp. The Purge Continues.

We have to say that we didn’t see this one coming.

Palm Bay deputy city managers fired as administrative shake-up continues

Palm Bay’s deputy city managers have been terminated in the aftermath of former city manager Gregg Lynk’s firing last week.

Monday, Interim City Manager Lisa Morrell fired Deputy City Manager Ron Clare, who was hired by the city in December 2014, and newly hired Deputy City Manager William Curry.

“After careful review and interpretation of the direction and intent of Council’s discussion at the Nov. 21 special council meeting, it was determined that the best path forward would be to undertake a full reconfiguration of Palm Bay’s senior management team,” Morrell said.

Lynk was fired the night before Thanksgiving by a 3-2 Palm Bay City Council vote. Mayor William Capote, Jeff Bailey and Kenny Johnson voted to fire Lynk, while Deputy Mayor Brian Anderson and Harry Santiago voted no.

Clare was initially hired as Palm Bay’s director of human resources, then was promoted to deputy city manager.

In Clare’s termination letter, Morrell wrote that his services were no longer required, effective immediately. She stated that he served in an at-will position and could be released from employment without cause or notice, per city code.

Clare will receive 248 hours of vacation pay. He had previously directed the Broward County Sheriff’s Office human services bureau and worked as Lake Worth’s interim human resources director, following a series of jobs in Rhode Island.

Curry is a retired New Jersey State Parole Board deputy executive director who had 30 years of experience in the New Jersey corrections system. Lynk introduced Curry during the Oct. 4 City Council meeting.

In Curry’s termination letter, Morrell wrote that she was releasing him from employment “after carefully considering your performance during your initial orientation and probationary period.”

We have never seen this type of action from interim City Managers. That is neither a good or bad thing only that it is unusual.

When Morrell was at the last City Council meeting she was in a business suit which we thought was unusual for her as she usually dresses in a casual manner.

Clearly someone had spoken to her about taking the reins and being ready to be named the interim City Manager if Gregg Lynk was terminated. After all, why not have named one of the Deputy City Managers to fill Lynk’s position?

Now we know why.

With Lynk dismissed it appears that the heads of two Deputy Managers were on the chopping block as well.

While we are not privy to the employment records of the two men let go, it is clear that someone in City Hall has been listening to the people saying “we want a change for the positive.”

As we said, we find the firings by an Interim City Manager to be unusual, but it appears to be part of a plan. Who is initiating that plan and where is it emanating from is anyone’s guess.

The face of City Hall is changing before our very eyes.

2 Responses to “Palm Bay: Draining Of The Swamp. The Purge Continues.”

  1. Thomas Gaume says:

    The voters were quite clear in the voting booth. They wanted change and the voters started that change in the primary by removing Tres Holton from office.

    In November that demand for change was even further executed with the election of Kenny Johnson, and the approval of a bond referendum for roads passing with 66% approval with an overvote of 2,000 additional votes more than either City Council race.

    I believe that the interim City Manager is simply doing what she knows needs to be done prior to either a new City Manager, or her being named City Manager. “Make hay while the sun shines” is applicable here.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Thomas Gaume,

      Thanks for the comment.

      That an interim City Manager fires two high ranking City officials within two days of sitting in the big chair is unprecedented. We can’t remember it ever happening. We can’t remember it happening in the private sector or it doesn’t happen often.

      Our concern is that it appears that there was a plan going into this whole thing. That plan included getting rid of people.

      That plan was not known or announced to the public. If Lynk was “protecting” the people that were terminated, perhaps that should have been discussed at Council meetings. Perhaps that should have been one of the reasons that was given for terminating Lynk.

      The problem that we have is that this appears to have been part of plan that was made out of the public view. One of the complaints we had was the number of back room deals that seemed to be the norm in Palm Bay. It almost seems that people are okay with those backroom deals now because they like the results.

      We think the deals themselves are wrong no matter what the outcome.

      As you said, making hay requires sunshine, not a back room.

      A. Afterwit.