GRU General Manager hangs on to job after hours of supportive public comments

Ed Bielarski speaks to city commissioners on September 13


Saying that the City needs a “reset” of charter officers, Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe added the termination of the contract of GRU General Manager Ed Bielarski to the agenda of tonight’s Special Meeting.

After Bielarski described recent accomplishments and broke down in tears, asking to keep the job “at the utility that I love,” Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos moved to terminate the contract. Commissioner Harvey Ward agreed that it was time to make a change.

During public comment, Nathan Skop warned that the change could affect the credit ratings of GRU. A large number of GRU employees, including members of GRU’s leadership team, showed up, in spite of the late hour (public comment took place after 11 p.m.), to ask the City Commission to retain Bielarski. Former City Commissioner Todd Chase counseled prudence, given that terminating Bielarski would lead to five new charter officers at a time when it’s possible that there could also be five new city commissioners by 2022. Former State Representative and County Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut remarked on all the GRU employees who showed up to support Bielarski and contrasted that with the fact that no employees came to advocate for City Manager Lee Feldman earlier in the evening, when the commission accepted Feldman’s resignation and considered whether to amend his contract to give him 20 weeks of severance pay. Public comment on the topic of whether to retain Bielarski went on for over two hours.

After public comment, Ward told the GRU employees that he wanted to “make a deal” with Bielarski. He told Bielarski that he needed him to name a Chief Climate Officer and a team to work with the Climate Advisory Committee and the Utility Advisory Board and bring back a plan by January to get to 100% renewable energy. He needed him to “fold some duplicate services together with General Government.” He needed him to “not go to the County Commission building and talk at public comment and fuss at county commissioners. You can’t.”

Bielarski agreed to all the terms, saying he could find someone with a “softer spirit” to be a liaison, and he could work on the duplicate services.

Commissioner Gail Johnson said, “You’re not a manager; you’re a leader. It’s clear.”

Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker said the response from GRU employees was “overwhelming.” She said the commission gave an opportunity to Feldman (allowing him to stay after the Equal Opportunity report recommended that he be fired) that they didn’t give to Bielarski: Bielarski was not given the opportunity to correct the perceived problems before Poe put his termination on the agenda.

Commissioner David Arreola said he also had a “sticking point” with Bielarski: “I need full and immediate participation with the City Auditor’s audit plan… It continues to be something that comes up short.” He said it’s important to him that charter officers work together.

Hayes-Santos, seeing that he didn’t have the votes, pulled the motion from the floor.

Poe thanked GRU employees for coming to the meeting. He said he was never against the employees, but that his issue with Bielarski was partially caused by “our system of government… it’s an unbelievably difficult system.” Poe also said Bielarski has to be more respectful toward citizen boards.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:33 a.m.

  • They tried making lemonade out of the lemons their other employee resignations caused in the local news. But it’ll still affect the credit rating when they come up with “climate change” mandates based on hocus-pocus fake science, not real science. Whatever happened to “facts, not fear”? There is NO climate change caused by fossil fuels. We are strip mining for batteries instead of coal. Solar farms cause heat islands, and windmills use balsa wood in short supply, and cause desert effects for their *neighbors*. Stop the insanity, keep natural gas, or the governor will have to dissolve the city, next.

  • This ego madness has gone on long enough and needs correction immediately. The biomass debacle, Holt’s audit and subsequent firing,absurd costly pet projects, vaccine demands, dogmatic and arrogant attitudes are but a few of the disasters within this city government. Bring on the 2022 elections!

    • Excellent reporting! (especially considering it dragged on ’till 1:30 AM)
      Micro-mismanagement! This item was added to the agenda over the weekend allowing no time for “citizen owners” to understand what “new direction” entailed.
      Way too much drama @ city hall with Adrian H-S, Poe & Ward!

    • Biomass was Hanrahan trying to comply with Kyoto
      Protocol which at the time, the US was not a signatory to…carbon credits, carbon footprint…all that stuff to
      Regulate CO2 emissions. The pandemic quarantines
      Reduce CO2 emissions and they want lockdowns until
      2030 to stop global warming…

  • Reset? Chief Climate officer? —This is all about
    Climate change. The quarantines reduce CO2
    Emissions…you’re being scammed by the “big lie”.
    “Great Reset”, “green new deal”= global totalitarianism…
    They’re getting their orders from the UN. The devil
    Is hiding behind the environment…the local tyranny
    Started with the paper straw. “ the pandemic provides
    The perfect cover to implement the great reset”…
    Yeah, we all want to save the planet…he who sacrifices liberty for safety gets neither. They destroyed the US$,
    They destroyed the economy, they took our liberty &
    Freedom. They want to destroy the US constitution &
    Replace it with the international covenant on civil &
    Political rights (UN constitution). The law can put a
    Limit on your freedom of thought, the law can put a limit
    On your freedom of expression, & there’s no mention
    right to bear arms. Endgame? New world order,
    One world gov, global totalitarianism…the prison
    Planet. Hell on earth. Mark of the beast. Kick em
    All out of office. They are in violation of their loyalty
    Oath to uphold the state & US constitution! They aren’t
    Supposed to be taking their marching orders from a
    Foreign government (UN)…

  • How can a bunch of failures that have never been successful at anything besides a gov job, hold court, ridicule, and instruct an energy professional, trained engineer, and proven leader who has 40 years experience in the power industry? Answer: Can’t! The situation occurred due to apathetic voters and successful citizens unwilling to pay their dues and run for office or really get behind someone else who has been successful and without a loser background. Pony up folks and get these losers out of office for good!

  • So Poe and the rest of the wokesters don’t get their way this time but hang on there is still time to screw things up to cost the taxpayers…..So now they will have to pay 100K to get their way to make the City Manager go away. Then they can hire their woke manager and make the city broke. Piss poor decisions by the commissioners all motivated by race and gender wokeism.

  • Thanks again for taking the time to sit through yet another meeting where a local board attempts to wear down the public with a defacto filibuster into the wee hours. There isn’t a single person on the GVCC that is qualified to be on the board of directors of a commercial enterprise the size of GRU and it shows.

  • Bielarski is as good as gone. This just resets the clock to January. If he had any sense of honor and self-value (not ego, but knowing that he is competent), he would have refused everything except for consolidating redundant services. He is now officially neutered.

    • having a commission meeting stretching ’till 1:30 AM is as offensive as a party with loud music lasting ’till 1:30 AM! Very inconsiderate of “neighbors”!

    • Then he can run for city commissioner or mayor. Isn’t the new Fall election cycle starting next year?

  • you f—ers sound like a bunch of uninformed morons. All I see is dumb-asses parroting people like Trump M Greene and Desantis. TRY THINKING FOR YOURSELF!!!!!!!

      • What is notable is Harvey “Two Face” demanded a deal to bring back a plan for 100% renewable energy by January. That idiot doesn’t realize it’s that mentality that has caused the collapse of GRU and the pending financial collapse the city is now finding itself in.

        Ward doesn’t care the costs of utilities because:
        A. He’s won the lottery
        B. He’s benefiting from the high utility rates being charged
        C. He’s whoring out the skirts he hides behind
        D. He’s as we all know…an idiot

        As “bone” pointed out, all those liberals are just sucking the bones and scraps current leadership is feeding them. At least when they are willing to share that is…keep believing.

  • “They destroyed the US$,
    They destroyed the economy, they took our liberty &
    Freedom. They want to destroy the US constitution &
    Replace it with the international covenant on civil &
    Political rights (UN constitution). The law can put a
    Limit on your freedom of thought, the law can put a limit
    On your freedom of expression, & there’s no mention
    right to bear arms. Endgame? New world order,
    One world gov, global totalitarianism…the prison
    Planet. Hell on earth. Mark of the beast.”

    People who write stuff like this might have done too many drugs and fried their brain. I really hope they seek some competent mental health help. Soon and often. For the good of the community. Keeping stuff like this inside your head will simply rot your brain away.

  • Poe needs a GREAT RESET of charter officers. This is the tone of NAZI collaborator, Klaus Schwab and the Davos Billionaires who are forcing the global poison needle eugenics campaign under the false-flag of “vaccine”.

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