One of Charlie Proctor’s first duties as president of the Zephyrhills City Council is a somber one, by his own admission.
Wednesday, Proctor and the rest of the council will consider a resignation proposal from City Manager Jim Drumm, leaving a vacancy in the city’s top manager’s job for the second time in three years.
In an April 17 letter to Mayor Gene Whitfield and the rest of the council, Drumm maintains his position that the council can’t remove him without four out of five votes, but said he is willing to step down so that the city can move forward.
“This past month has been unsettling for me and my family,” Drumm said. “We came to Zephyrhills seeking stability, and now we have learned that with little notice, we are to leave. This greatly disappoints me.”
The call for change started in March when Drumm’s three-year contract, which expires next month, was up for renewal. Then city council president Lance Smith said he did not want to renew it, joined by fellow councilman Ken Burgess. Proctor, who at first supposed Drumm, later changed his position after what he said was a community mandate to make a change in the city manager’s post.
The question, however, was whether or not the city could part ways with Drumm, even if they didn’t have four votes to oust him. City officials sought three legal opinions, including one earlier this month spearheaded by now former councilwoman Jodi Wilkeson, which all agreed that Drumm could be asked to leave at the end of his contract, whether there were four votes to support it or not.
His contact, Drumm said, was in conflict with the city charter, and when there is a conflict, the charter should be the prevailing document — much like the U.S. Constitution, or Florida’s state constitution.
“We all, including me, have sworn to uphold them all in our oath of office,” Drumm said in his letter.
If accepted by the council, Drumm would receive all wages earned through his last day, reimbursement of all accrued vacation leave, and 20 percent of his accrued sick leave. He also would receive 20 weeks of severance — at a cost of nearly $35,000 — and city-paid premium payments of his health insurance for the next five months.
In return, Drumm will step down and not pursue any legal action against the city.
Wednesday’s special meeting begins at 6 p.m., at Zephyrhills City Hall, 5335 Eighth St.