When the Blountstown City Council convened for the first meeting of the new year last Tuesday night, it quickly became clear that change was on the agenda. By meeting’s end, City Manager James Woods was without a job.
As outgoing Councilman David Blair prepared to step down, he offered some words to the new Council.
“I think Mr. Woods has done a commendable job,” Blair remarked of the City Manager. “He’s done a lot for the city,” noting that Woods was instrumental in securing $2 million to upgrade the electrical system, along with funding to repair the dam and a sidewalk project on Charlie Johns Street, just to name a few. “All the spending that goes on in the city is controlled by the City Council,” Blair emphasized, noting that spending became an issue in the recent election. “Mr. Woods does not have the authority to spend a dime unless this City Council approves. Mr. Woods puts these projects in front of the City Council and we decide to fund them - not him.”
After a lengthy discussion, the Council voted 3-2 with Councilman Clifford Jackson, Boyd, and Griffin voting against rehiring Woods and Shoemake and Mayor Deason in favor of keeping him. They agreed to keep Woods as interim City Manager for 60 days.
Several audience members were outraged by the decision to fire Woods. A special meeting is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. with the matter to be re-addressed at that time.
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