fbpx

City of Gainesville Auditor resigns, leaving only one non-interim charter officer after January

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Ginger Bigbie, City Auditor for the City of Gainesville, submitted her resignation on November 8; her last day will be January 13, 2023.

Bigbie was hired in December of 2019 after the former City Auditor, Carlos Holt, was fired. The State Joint Legislative Audit Committee had voted in November of 2019 to audit the City, so Bigbie presided over that process.

Bigbie presented the results of the Auditor General’s report to the City of Gainesville Audit Committee in January of 2022 and said she would make sure the City’s remediation efforts stayed on track over the next 18 months. At the same meeting, a representative from Bigbie’s office told the committee that findings from an external audit were not corrected in FY21, for the fourth year in a row.

The City received an email on September 26, 2022, and then a letter from the State Joint Legislative Auditing Committee on November 4, stating that the City’s Annual Financial Report and Annual Financial Audit Report for FY2020-21 have not been submitted. The reports were due on June 30, 2022, but the City Commission had already been warned that they would be late because of a personnel shortage and difficulties in transitioning from the City’s previous record-keeping system to Workday. The letter warns that state revenues could be withheld from the City if the reports or a detailed written status are not submitted by December 19, 2022.

The City Commission gave Bigbie an overall performance rating of 4.89 out of 5 in April of 2022 and gave her a 2.5% raise, bringing her salary to $171,892.50.

Don't Miss a Post!

In her resignation letter, Bigbie requested that the City Commission appoint an Interim Auditor from within her office and said she would “continue to champion strong governance as the City strives to achieve its objectives and instill public trust.” She added, “It is my hope that the timing of this announcement end of working day Tuesday, 11/8, will not affect the City Commission election process nor reflect in any way on those who may be elected to City Commission offices.”

Bigbie is one of two remaining non-interim Charter Officers for the City. Former GRU General Manager Ed Bielarski was fired on January 27, 2022, and was replaced by Interim General Manager Tony Cunningham. Former City Manager Lee Feldman resigned on September 13, 2021, and was replaced by Interim City Manager Cynthia Curry. City Clerk Omichele Gainey and City Attorney Nicolle Shalley submitted their resignations on September 8, 2021; Gainey later rescinded her resignation and is still serving as City Clerk, while Interim City Attorney Daniel Nee replaced Shalley. The Director of Equity and Inclusion Teneeshia Marshall resigned in early May 2021 and was replaced by Interim Director of Equity and Inclusion Zeriah Fulston.

  • Did she submit her resignation after she saw online that Ward was going to be mayor? “End of working day” is a little vague, perhaps intentionally. Good luck to her and no one can blame her, of course.

  • Read between the lines and take her statement literally for what it says. Ward was elected mayor not commissioner. He is nothing less than an abusive bully.

    As an aside, I have not heard of any non-charter employee of the city or GRU ever receiving anything approaching 4.89 on their review, demonstrating a fundamental inability of the commissioners to discern actual performance vs reasonable expectations.

  • I read the letter from the State, let’s see if I got it right:

    Lauren Poe, mayor of Gainesville, failed in his responsibilities as a leader and administrator and did not make sure that the audit and report were submitted to the State on time (June 30, 2022). The city has until Dec 19, 2022 to do so.

    Florida JLAC is meeting in “early 2023” to decide if they will be taking action against the city of Gainesville and other delinquent municipalities. The action includes withholding certain state funds.

    Some of those funds will be released if the report is received by June 30, 2023, but other funds like the half-cent sales tax, will NOT be returned to the city and will instead go to the State.

  • Another very high paying job where the employee leaves city employment. Must be as miserable working for the city as it is being on the commission. Good luck to all. I think you’re gonna need it.

    • Someone like her would probably rather have a “professional” work environment. Not Harvey raising his voice, having tantrums, banging on the table like he did once again at the debate, etc. And he’s probably not even as ‘smart’ as Poe when it comes to trying to effectively communicate with him on a daily basis. Good luck retaining new professional people.

  • There are a record number of people who’ve left including department heads – no coverage. Let’s see Adrian… is there some other solution you can pitch as a the cure for the exodus of staff? Hmmm… how about competent leadership? Could that be it? Is that the reason people are leaving? Just like you to propose the solution is to rip up the charter system because of course “it’s everyone else and not us.” What a disgrace of elected leadership. It’s the commission, stupid — always has been for as long as Poe and his cabinet of loonies have been running the city. Go get your boy with the mulch in his bag to return, turn public parks private and hire a gaggle of good ole boys from south Florida. That’ll fix it!

  • The Warped Values of the Gainesville Rulers will be thier demise. The sooner the better . They let Crime , and disfunctional accountabilty thirve . Then focus on the Huge idiotic, prejudice FJB agenda’s . May the waller and squander with the smirks and shrugs in their upcoming investigations .

  • Like rats fleeing a sinking ship.
    When will the state do a proper and full investigation of Poe and his cronies?

  • The city commission will be glad to get someone that won’t find much and let them tell the auditor what to audit and what to stay away from. Sure she is being pressured to not report things. Of course, no report no matter how bad matters much to those idiots. How about the State Auditor General’s report? Oh we’ll fix it all and it’s all the fault of the last disgruntled city auditor anyway, nothing to send here.

  • Many of the city personnel and finance issues can be traced back to the timeframe related to the pressure from Chase, Carter, and Braddy for Russ Blackburn to hire back Lyons into the CRA after he unsuccessfully went to Boise. Then those three orchestrated Blackburn leaving and hiring Lyons as city manager. Basically no management experience at that level, arrogance, and likely incompetence resulted in what you are left picking up the pieces today.

    • The city was a lot better before all the start-ups left along with Lyons. But you can babble nonsensically if you want.

  • I hope the city can afford to continue to pay pensions in the future. Run properly there should be very minimal risk of bankruptcy or pension reduction.

  • Well said. An extreme fiscal mess going on for years now. All the result of repeated election of ignorant, spend happy City Commissioners who couldn’t balance a checkbook let alone a large utility and city government. Not to mention their all-in wokeness no matter how much it cost. Repeated failures to do timely, much less accurate financial statements or comply with the state’s Auditor General’s audit mandates. The last city auditor testified to the FL legislature in Tallahassee, along with State Senator Kieth Perry and State Representative Chuck Clemons as to why the CoG needed to be audited. All points noted were found to be true but still have not been corrected. This is a public embarrassment to the city. Maybe the State Comptroller or Governor can step in and stop this mess and take it over. This is a fiscal disaster of unseen proportions!

  • >