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Date of Issue: July 05, 2007

SueLynn examines Donohue dismissal

Former Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn hired him three years ago. Current Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford fired him.

Now SueLynn wants to know the circumstances that led to the dismissal last month of former building official Kevin Donohue.

The former mayor made an official records request to the city June 20, requesting copies of all minutes of meetings, handouts, letters and e-mails and correspondence that led to Donohue’s termination, along with copies of the proposal to retain M.T. Causley Inc. for part-time building official duties.

After Donohue’s June 18 dismissal, Barford moved quickly at a special meeting June 20 to have the city commission retain the Causley firm as the city’s building official.

SueLynn expressed her displeasure with Donohue’s dismissal to the city commission and Barford at the June 20 meeting. At that meeting, however, Barford took full responsibility for his termination, saying it was an economic measure to save the city nearly $40,000 annually.

Barford also observed at that time that Donohue had applied for the Bradenton Beach building official’s position. In addition, the work of the building department had decreased dramatically the past year, she noted.

Donohue himself made no secret of the fact that he was looking for another job.

But SueLynn wants to know more.

“This is just for my own information because I wasn’t present to see what happened,” she said.

As the person who hired Donohue to bring professionalism to the building department, rewrite city codes and update the city’s CRS rating system with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, SueLynn said that Donohue’s abrupt termination was disconcerting.

But she made it clear that Donohue has nothing to do with her request.

“This is my own initiative,” she emphasized.

Barford indicated that most of the records had been delivered to SueLynn. She said she hoped this would put the matter to rest so the city can “move forward.”

Donohue made approximately $90,000 a year, including benefits, as a full-time building official.

Causley will be paid $52,000 annually to provide a building official four hours a day, five days a week. The company was hired in early June as the full-time building official in Bradenton Beach, where it will likely earn more than $100,000 annually from that city.

In an ironic twist to the building official saga on the Island, Causley has already provided Anna Maria with a certified flood plain manager to run the city’s CRS.

He’s Bob Welsh, a former Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach building official who now works for Causley in Marathon, Fla., where he heads up the building department in yet another outsourcing of services to save money.