A crowded city hall meeting room of about 45+ people were in attendance on Tuesday, October 22 in support of city manager Jack McLean who has been under fire by Derrick Elias for the last few meetings. Many of the speakers were wearing pink T-shirts that said, “I support our city manager!”
Elias made a motion to terminate McLean right after interim city attorney Jerry Miller’s contract was discussed and voted to advertise for a permanent attorney.
As to Elias’ motion to terminate the city manager, Attorney Miller advised the council that it must include whether the nature of the action is either for cause or without cause, and state why. Elias said because of not having the audit and other financial issues.
After consideration, the vote to terminate was a 3-2 vote against termination (‘No’ votes were commissioners Larry Edwards, Andy Gay and mayor Keith Dowdell. (‘Yes’ votes to terminate were Derrick Elias and Micah Brown.)
Former city manager Willie Earl Banks spoke in support of McLean: “During my 30 years with Quincy, I’ve seen six city managers come and go. I was manager for 6½ years. I was elated as a former manager that we’d now have a professional city manager.”
“We’ve had a few (who harp on McLean) come over and over, but now you’re seeing the whole community,” said Emanuel Sapp, who said the reason the city has a cash-flow problem is because utility revenues are down and the city had unexpected payouts such as lawsuits.
Another audience member said McLean always has time for the citizens of Quincy. “He has a heart for the people,” said one.
A woman who sits on the city’s CRA board said McLean was a good city manager.
Former commissioner Carolyn Ford said, “I just don’t understand. I have to go back in memory to when this city was in turmoil. When Jack
McLean came on board as a commissioner, he set the pace, created the vision. The turmoil is now internal. He’s moved this city forward.”
In closing, Emanuel Sapp said Coach Bowden and Jack McLean brought Chief Walt McNeil, a professional chief, to the city. “Don’t discourage this professional move forward. Do the right thing and move this city forward. When this many people come together, something solid is being said,” Sapp said.
Commissioners had a few things to say. Andy Gay: “When Jack came on board as city manager, we were in arrears to Progress Energy by over $1 million. I have confidence in him that he can move this city forward.”
Gay asked for reconsideration of the advertisement vote on the interim attorney’s contract. Larry Edwards moved to accept Jerry Miller’s contract making him the attorney of record, and he was hired in a 3-2 vote (Elias, Brown voting against).
“Tonight, we are at a crossroads. We’ve got to find a way to get this machine back together. This city is working. I’m proud of Quincy, the place we call home,” said Keith Dowdell.