BY JENNIFER CABRERA
Although the full scope of the shake-up is still unfolding, we have received confirmation of at least five major personnel moves at City Hall today: Interim City Manager Cynthia Curry has eliminated the three Assistant City Manager positions and fired Assistant City Managers Fred Murry, Deborah Bowie, and Andrea Agha; and Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones has been temporarily reassigned to an Interim Chief Operating Officer position at City Hall. Director of Public Works Phil Mann has also reportedly been moved to a special assignment as a special advisor to the City Manager, with oversight of capital projects and infrastructure needs. An Interim Police Chief and Interim Public Works Director will be announced soon.
In addition to the Chief Operating Officer position, the City will also be adding an Executive Chief of Staff and Chief Housing Strategist in the near future.
Jones has been with Gainesville Police Department since 1975, retiring as a Captain in 2004, coming back as Interim Police Chief in 2009, and appointed as Police Chief in September, 2009. He served as an Interim City Manager for a few months in 2005. His assignment at City Hall will be effective January 17.
Murry has been an Assistant City Manager with the City of Gainesville since 2007 and was a top candidate for the City Manager position in 2019 and the Interim City Manager position in 2021.
Bowie was hired as the Executive Chief of Staff in 2018 and was Interim City Manager for almost all of 2019. She became Assistant City Manager in November 2019.
Agha was hired on August 30, 2021. Before that, she served as the CEO for the Village of Key Biscayne and as the deputy town manager for the Town of Miami Lakes.
Mann has been with the City of Gainesville for almost 35 years and has been the Public Works Director since 2017. He was an Acting Assistant City Manager – Operations for about a year in 2020-21 and returned to Public Works in September 2021.
On top of the personnel changes, the Department of Budget and Finance will be renamed to the Department of Financial Services, the Office of Capital Asset Planning and Economic Resilience (CAPER) will be renamed to Economic Opportunity and Special Projects Planning, and the Office of Strategic Initiatives will be renamed to the Department of Strategy, Planning and Innovation. The budget has been removed from Financial Services and added to the Department of Strategy, Planning and Innovation.
The City sent out the following statement regarding the changes: “The organizational changes implemented by the city manager are designed to centralize and fortify our management structure by streamlining operations and leveraging our resources more strategically. This move ensures consistency in direction, expectations and support across the organization. As we transition, our collective energy remains focused on delivering best-in-class services to our neighbors.”
Update: the Memorandum from Interim City Manager Cynthia Curry to the Mayor and the City Commissioners can be read here.