AVON PARK — Avon Park City Manager June Fisher informed the mayor and city council members, in a note dated Nov. 7, that she will be resigning from her position with the city.
In accordance with her employment agreement, Fisher said she is providing a 30-day notice and is prepared to continue employment until her last day on Dec. 7.
Fisher did not provide a reason for her resignation and did not elaborate when Highlands News-Sun inquired about it.
While Fisher’s resignation is a bit of a surprise, it may be understandable following Tuesday’s City Council election. Two of the three council members (Dora Smith and Terry Heston), who had voted in support of her employment contract in a 3-2 vote, were not re-elected.
Maria Sutherland and Stanley Spurlock, who have different views on many city issues than the outgoing council members, will be sworn into office as the new council members at an organizational council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Mayor Garrett Anderson said Fisher’s resignation was unexpected, but he added, “With the new members coming on there is bound to be some big moves.
“I am looking forward to a proper hiring process and finding a city manager who fits the City of Charm’s needs,” he said. “I am optimistic about the future of Avon Park and believe the council will aggressively enact policy to build business and upgrade the customer/citizen experience.”
With so many new faces on the council it is clear the voters wanted a change, Anderson said. “I would encourage citizens to reach out to your council and share your wants, needs and ideas.”
Spurlock said Wednesday, “I am almost certain that the change in the council affected her decision, without a doubt.”
The council will likely appoint an interim person to serve as city manager until a search can be conducted to find the right person to move the city ahead, Spurlock said.
Sutherland said, “I’ve learned that when an employee wants to go, you don’t beg them to stay. Besides, it appeared to me there was a complete lack of leadership.”
Fisher will still walk out with four months of pay plus all her unused sick and vacation time, Sutherland said. “I wish her well.”
Councilman Jim Barnard said he was surprised because discussion of her contract was added to the Tuesday meeting’s agenda to see what the new council members thought of the contract that she received. “Which I thought the $125,000 was too much to start for somebody brand new. I definitely didn’t see this coming of her resignation,” he said.
Barnard said, “We have brand new [council] members and I know they have made some comments in newspaper articles so we will just see what has to happen. In all my dealings with June she has always been very friendly and courteous and actually easy to work with.”
Maybe this is an opportunity for her to move on to a better position, he said.
Deputy Mayor Brenda Gray, who was re-elected Tuesday to the council, could not be reached for comment.
In June, the City Council, by a 3-2 vote, approved an amendment to Fisher’s employment contract increasing her annual base salary from $90,000 to $125,000.
Gray negotiated the updated contract with Fisher.
In June, Gray noted that the city would be saving $17,000 because Fisher did not need the health insurance package.
Anderson and Barnard voted “no,” citing that Fisher had been working for the city for only a few months, was fired from her previous job and would be paid the same amount the recently departed city manager worked up to over a seven-year period.
The contract amendment also increased Fisher’s maximum vacation leave payout for accrued time from 600 to 700 hours.
Fisher started working for the city on a temporary appointment on Dec. 18 and was selected by then city manager Julian Deleon to fill the position of administrative services director/city clerk. When Deleon resigned, Fisher was selected by council to replace him without conducting a formal search.