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GRU General Manager’s job in jeopardy

File photo: GRU General Manager Ed Bielarski speaks to the Utility Advisory Board on January 9, 2020

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GRU General Manager Ed Bielarski has told his leadership team that Mayor Lauren Poe has asked for his resignation. He said that the call with the mayor was happening at the same time that City Clerk Omichele Gainey and City Attorney Nicolle Shalley were submitting their resignations. A fourth charter officer, the Director of Equity and Inclusion Teneeshia Marshall, resigned in early May. If Bielarski is removed, the only remaining non-interim charter officers will be City Auditor Ginger Bigbie (hired December 2019) and City Manager Lee Feldman (who survived a meeting that was called to discuss a report that he had retaliated against an employee only because Commissioner Reina Saco was prepared with a motion to require a “professional development program”). Commissioner Gail Johnson just resigned on August 23, saying that she continues to “remain concerned about the retention of the City Manager.”

Bielarski’s email to GRU leadership said, “I can assure you that I have no intention of offering my resignation, however, there may be some consequences such as public commission votes and such. I want to assure you all that I will work to serve you all for as long as I can. You all know me well enough that I will not simply work [sic] away from a job that I love so much, or the people that I care about as much. There will be rumors, reports, and other speculation. Rest assured that I will not be leaving, unless told to do so.”

Bielarski’s email described his accomplishments as GRU General Manager, as well as upcoming projects that he is looking forward to. He continued, “I would also suggest that the city would suffer greatly from the additional departure of a charter officer. The turmoil – not to mention the loss of institutional, spiritual and creative knowledge – created by the resignations of Ms. Marshall, Ms. Gainey, and Ms. Shalley cannot be overstated. The remaining charters, Mr. Feldman, Ms. Bigbie, and I will need to step up our game to compensate for the losses.  We are experienced managers who can and will continue to provide the commission with stability through healthy debate. I must admit that your suggestion I resign and offer up two months’ notice caught me off guard, since just one month ago you offered your support.”

The city commission has a Special Meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Monday to consider GRU’s tentative budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

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