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Updated: 09/20/2012 08:01:47AM

Complicity between City Manager and a City Commissioner

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There is nothing wrong with a city manager and a city commissioner working together to develop a proposal to present to the city commission for consideration; however, having a commissioner present an idea to the city commission on a false pretext, and the city manager denying any knowledge of the plan, is shameful. This is just what happened.

At the Aug. 1, 2012, city commission workshop, Commissioner Betty Wojcik stated, “Now I’m going to blow your minds even more ... I would like you to consider the idea of taking that amount ($150,000) or amount or part of that ... to hire an assistant city manager ... and the other benefit of that is that person she (city manager) hires could be somebody who has a strong background in recreation management … ” to be use as recreational director. Near the end of discussions on this issue Ms. Leary, city manager stated, “This is coming right out of left field.” This statement by Ms. Leary is untruthful and deceiving.

Through a document request I found emails that show that the city manager and Commissioner Wojcik have been conversing on the recreational director issue starting as early as June.

On June 6, 2012, the city manager emailed Commissioner Wojcik stating, “Betty here is the editorial I was speaking of.” The editorial she was referring to was “Time to hire a rec director in Lake Wales” from The Lake Wales News. The city manager and Commissioner Wojcik had been working on the issue of a recreational director for at least two months before the idea was “sprung” on the city commission. The city manager knew of these plans months before the commission workshop.

But it goes even further. The newly planned assistant city manager/recreational director was already hand picked by the city manager, and that person was an old friend: Mr. Dale Dougherty.

A July 16, 2012, email shows Mr. Dougherty asking for the city manager’s address and planning a trip to see her. “That way I can maybe go to work with you on Friday, July 27.” Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Leary were seen touring our city over that weekend. The word is that even the salary of $100,000 per year was discussed.

I believe that for the city manager and Commissioner Wojcik to conspire together to make this plan seem as a “spur of the moment” idea is shameful. How can the city commission ever again trust Commissioner Wojcik or the City Manager, Ms. Leary? It has been quite clear to me for some time now that Ms. Leary is in over her head and is lacking the necessary leadership ability, but for her actions in deceiving the city commission, I believe she should be discharged. As far as Commissioner Wojcik goes, I believe she should resign her commission seat or be recalled.

Ed Bowlin

Lake Wales