Clemons calls for Mayor Ward and GRU General Manager Cunningham to resign
October 25, 2023
BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Following today’s Alachua County Legislative Delegation meeting, Rep. Chuck Clemons called for Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward to resign.
In a statement released this evening, Clemons wrote,
“Today I call for Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward to resign his office, based on information that has surfaced centered on his role in directing GRU General Manager Tony Cunningham to delay a bond underwriting that cost GRU ratepayers approximately $2.9 million dollars. In addition, the Mayor and Commissioner Bryan Eastman took to social media and other public outlets to place blame directly on the legislature for the increased costs, which was never true. The Mayor and Commissioner Eastman doubled down on their narrative and will now have to back up their statement with facts, probably under oath.
“In addition, I call for the GRU General Manager, Tony Cunningham, to immediately tender his resignation to the GRU Authority. It is unconscionable that Mr Cunningham knew full well that the delay of this bond underwriting was neither reasonable or financially prudent and still refused to exhibit good judgment on behalf of the customers. This bad decision cost $2.9 million dollars. This is not Monopoly money. He should be held accountable.
“What the Mayor has done, I believe, is both unethical and against the laws of the State of Florida. I will call for the House Ethics, Elections & Open Government Subcommittee to open an investigation as to these irregularities.”
During the legislative delegation meeting, Ward had the opportunity to make requests on behalf of the City of Gainesville, and he started by saying, “I want to say that I recognize that my fellow Commissioners and I want to bridge the gap between us and you, as our elected representation in Tallahassee. I fully intend, as I continue my first year as Mayor, to continue to build those relationships on behalf of the people that we all serve.” He then spoke for about five minutes about various awards and accreditations earned by the City and about some of the Commission’s projects, including the MLK Multipurpose Complex on Waldo Road. He thanked the legislators for their support of the Community Resource Paramedicine Program.
Ward concluded, “The people who work at City Hall, the Thomas Center, and GPD and GFR and RTS, Parks, and Public Works, throughout our organization, work hard to deliver the very best value to our neighbors. The rest of the state relies on Gainesville’s consistency, strength, and vibrancy. The people of Florida depend on Gainesville. We depend on your to support our work and our people. Thank you for listening, and I look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership.”
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