Brooksville city manager axed after accidental water tower sale

Hernando County

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – City council members in Brooksville voted 3-2 to terminate City Manager Mark Kutney.

Last month, it came to light that the city accidentally sold its water tower when selling an adjacent property. In an interview with 8 on Your Side last week, the city manager said he accepted full responsibility for the mistake and that it had been corrected.

Former Brooksville City Manager Mark Kutney explains the water tower sale to the city council.

But city council members seemed even more concerned with the way the communication about the error was handled. Council member Betty Erhard said when she first learned what happened, she thought it was a joke.

“I didn’t learn about it until I received a text, is it true the city manager sold the water tower?” Erhard told fellow city leaders. “I just laughed and said, no.”

But, it was true.

Council member Blake Bell told Kutney he would have handled the situation much differently.

“If this had been presented to me and I was the city manager I would have immediately come up with a plan of action.” I would have contacted each council member and inform them about what had happened. “

Citizens also voiced their displeasure at the meeting. John Lee owns Coney Island Hot Dogs.

“What happened here was the incompetence from the city manager,” said Lee. “And he has lied. He lies. He’s a known liar.”

John Lee is a Brooksville business owner who believes the city manager lied about the situation.

Prior to voting to terminate the city manager, city leaders asked if he wished to resign. He said no. “No sir,” Kutney told council members. “I’m not going to run out on my staff.”

After voting to terminate Kutney, the council took a short break and appointed Fire Chief Ron Snowberger as the acting city manager. He promises transparency throughout the transition.

“Mistakes do happen. We’re all human. They do happen,” said Snowberger. “But I think one of the things is that the city council wants to be highly aware of what’s taking place in the city at all times.”

The man who bought the water tower, deeded the portion of the land the tower sits on, back to the city. On the remaining parcel, he plans to open a fitness studio.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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