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Quincy city manager takes commissioners to court over ability to hire city employees

Quincy City Manager Jack McLean is taking the city commission to court, filing a complaint in court Monday asking a judge to reverse a recently approved motion.
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 11:05 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Quincy City Manager Jack McLean is taking the city commission to court, filing a complaint in circuit court Monday asking a judge to reverse a recently approved motion.

McLean alleges a 3-2 vote at the Nov. 9th city commission meeting violated the city charter, and even put the safety of city residents at risk.

The motion ordered McLean to freeze hiring or pay raises to city employees, unless granted approval from city commissioners.

McLean hired Tallahassee attorney Larry White to file the complaint.

“The city commission or the commissioners are prohibited from interfering in that area,” White said.

McLean pointed to Ordinance 3.04 of the city charter, which give the city manager the power to “employ or appoint all city employees.”

The Quincy Police Department has several vacancies in important positions, according to White. He also referenced the city’s alarming crime rate and homicide numbers.

”This in effect stymies, or delays, the implementation of hiring much needed police officers,” White said.

Mayor Pro Tem Keith Dowdell made the motion now at the center of controversy. He said he disagrees with the city manager’s claim.

“That’s not true,” he said.

Dowdell said his motion still allows McLean to fill police department roles, but only with commissioner approval.

“There has to be some communication between the city manager and the commission,” he said.

Dowdell alleges McLean has been making too many important moves without enough oversight.

“He don’t want nobody to tell him what to do...He thinks the City of Quincy belongs to Jack McLean,” Dowdell said.

Not every commissioner feels this way. Commissioner Freida Bass-Prieto took objection to the move during the Nov. 9 meeting.

“We cannot micromanage the manager,” she said during the debate.

White believes the law is firmly on his client’s side.

“I’m very optimistic based on the law, based on the plain language of the ordinance,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Quincy Police Department declined comment, deferring to the city manager.

During his interview with WCTV, Dowdell indicated he would look into the possibility of terminating the city manager.

Monday night, the city announced a special meeting for Tuesday evening. The city manger’s contract is on the agenda.

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