Interim named to charter office


Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 27, 2003 at 10:17 p.m.
Gainesville's current equal opportunity officer will remain in the position, at least temporarily, while the city conducts a national search for a permanent hire.
The City Commission voted 4-1 Monday to draft an interim employment contract for Jimmie Williams. The contract will likely include an increase in salary for Williams - a typical move for someone serving in a temporary position, said City Attorney Marion Radson.
Commissioner Warren Nielsen said he respected Williams' abilities, but voted against hiring him.
Nielsen said some Gainesville residents believe the commission wants to usher Williams into the permanent position. If Williams is hired as permanent director, that perception could make his job more difficult.
"I just don't want to put that albatross around his neck," he said.
Williams' position is being reorganized following the Nov. 5 election, when 53 percent of Gainesville voters approved an amendment to the city charter that elevates the equal opportunity director to the position of city manager or city attorney.
In the past, the equal opportunity officer has reported directly to the city manager.
Williams said earlier this month he intends to apply for the permanent job.
Williams has served as the city's equal opportunity director since September 2000.
Last fall, he said he didn't plan to apply for the reorganized job or ask to serve as interim director.
He changed his mind earlier this month, however, saying he had discussed the matter with his family and felt his personality and qualifications made him an ideal candidate for the job.
The commission also voted unanimously Monday to create a five-member committee to develop a procedure for hiring an equal opportunity officer, including a job description and proposed salary.
Each commissioner will appoint a member to the committee by the commission's next regular meeting on Feb. 10.
Ashley Rowland can be reached at 374-5095 or rowlana@gvillesun.com.

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