By Mike Lednovich
Deputy City Manager Charlie George will assume the duties of interim city manager in late May when current interim City Manager Mark Foxworth vacates the position.
Foxworth, who was retired, became interim city manager in February after the termination of City Manager Dale Martin by a 3-2 City Commission vote.
Foxworth had previously been Fernandina Beach police chief. He was given a 90-day contract by the city commission that ends May 24.
Foxworth notified city officials recently that he would not serve any extension of the contract.
After Foxworth gave notice, Commissioner Chip Ross asked that a special city commission meeting be held because there was no plan and there were no candidates in place to replace Foxworth once his contract expired. Ross’ request was denied.
At 3:25 today, Foxworth asked City Clerk Caroline Best to notify city commissioners by email that George had agreed to serve.
Her email said, “With your approval, City Engineer/Deputy City Manager Charles George has agreed to serve as the Interim City Manager upon Mr. Mark Foxworth completing his ninety-day contract May 24, 2023. Like Mr. Foxworth, Mr. George has a wealth of institutional knowledge and will provide professional leadership and city operations continuity. Supplemental details will be discussed/vetted with each commissioner in your charter officer meetings or may be discussed with me by phone sooner if desired.”
The city commission will vote on officially naming George to the position at its April 4 meeting.
“Given the short tenure of Mr. Fox as the current interim city manager, my goal will be to maintain the stability of the city staff and guide us through the transition to a new city manager,” George said.
George joined the city in November 2020 as city engineer. He was named deputy city manager in late 2021.
Honestly, I’m not sure why Mr George wasn’t allowed/directed to step in when Mr Martin was fired. He is the Deputy CM and like “most” positions, when there’s a Deputy or VP or anyone who would obviously be next in line, stands to reason that they would take over. I understand that Fernandina works “differently” than many other places and we seem to have a different attitude about many things, and maybe that is our problem. IMO having Mr Foxworth step in made no sense, but as I hear all of the time, “This is Fernandina”! I thank Mr Foxworth for stepping in but when you have someone who’s willing to help our city out and there is no plan on how it would work, that is nonsense no matter who it is. I wish Charlie Goerge all the best and hopefully he can get us back on some type of sensible track.
None of this has made any sense. Not the firing of Mr. Martin, not the skipping over Mr. George, not the no-consultant stance. Not the mystery of those who would guide a local hiring committee. None of it. Good luck to Mr. George. He has a very tough row to hoe.
EXACTLY my thoughts — he was thoroughly dismissed without so much as a discussion in a city commission meeting as the logical interim city manager. It’s an indication to me the commissioners have cursory knowledge of the city’s organizational structure. In any organization the second in command is always stands ready to fill the gap in the absence of the leader.
Wait ! Didn’t Mr Martin have something to do with hiring Mr George? Surely he would have been one of the people who interviewed him. If so, then isn’t Mr George tainted?
He was, but there’s a whole lot more to that.
Mayor Bean took that upon himself to reach out to Foxworth unbeknownst to anyone besides the City Attorney.
Did they let him know?
I’m on my 2nd bowl of popcorn!
Anyone offered the position who’s followed this clown show will ask for a “Super majority” clause in his/her contract, i.e. it takes four votes to remove them. They will also ask for a richer severance package than the one Martin had. Can’t blame them.