Midway City Council Lets Go of City Manager; Hires Interim City Manager

Midway City Council May 2017
Posted at 12:40 AM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-15 14:47:31-04

GADSDEN CO., Fla. (WTXL) - Midway City Manager Auburn Ford is let go Thursday night. He packed up his belongings and walked out right in the middle of the meeting.

His departure is just one of many recently in Midway.

Tuesday a police captain quit, and Thursday was the last day for the city's operations manager.

The City of Midway called a special meeting for Thursday night to discuss some important business, including the position of the Midway city manager.

At their city council meeting on May 4, 2017 the council voted 3-2 to not renew City Manager Auburn Ford's contract, but did vote to allow him to work day-to-day.

Thursday night, they voted 4-1 to not maintain his duties as city manager.

Ford tells WTXL, he's surprised by the decision.

"I was surprised, but I'm fine with their decision," explains Ford. "Like I said, this is politics. The person they brought in actually for me to train her. I'm going to just say to the citizens of Midway and their council, good luck. They made a decision, I'm gonna live with it. I'm fine with it. I'm gonna move on and if an opportunity arises again for me to get them out of another quagmire, I'll be back again."

Right after that vote, the city council voted 3-2 to hire Leslie Steele as the City's Interim City Manager. She was already part of the City's transition team.

Steele tells WTXL that she is more than qualified for the position, adding that she has more than 20 years of government affairs experience. She says she is excited to take on the role and explains her goals moving forward.

"To get us ready for the fiscal budget year," says Steele. "To get us ready to go into a state of growing and bring in new businesses and economies here. Making sure that our children have safe parks and rec programs that are needed and necessary. With this council, we're going to do some great things. We've had some challenging times, made some tough decisions. Its not tough to see someone you've worked with walk away, but change is good."

Thursday night's agenda also included discussing the case of former Midway Police Chief Tom Murray, but the city attorney said they couldn't discuss it during this meeting and needed to have a closed client session.

They voted on that meeting to take place on June 1 at 5:30 p.m., right before their regular meeting at 6 p.m.