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Chiefland City Manager Hartzog to leave post

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Chiefland City Manager Grady Hartzog Sr. received some criticism in his annual evaluation meeting with the Chiefland City Commission on Monday and when it was over he said he was ready to give it a rest after five years with the city.
In the discussion of his performance for the past year — including comments about his four-day-a-week work schedule and the purchase of a city vehicle from a vendor outside the county —   the discussion closed when Hartzog tendered his resignation.
The commissioner's comments on Monday were not a surprise to Hartzog as he had received the written evaluations last week.
Hartzog, who retired as city manager in Newberry and owned a Badcock & More store with his son, was hired as city manager in 2007. He has been on one-year contracts that were renewed annually in January by the commission.
The only point of contention in past reviews has been that Hartzog maintained his residence in Newberry. It has also been mentioned in evaluations that Chiefland Police Chief Robert Douglas does not live in the city nor Levy County. He lives in Marion County where he built a home while working for the Marion County Sheriff's office.
Both men have mentioned in past reviews that the depressed housing market hampered any plans to relocate to Chiefland.
As for Hartzog's schedule, the commission approved four-day work weeks, where employees work 10-hour days, when the economy hit bottom in late 2008. But the commission also said the schedules could not hamper keeping City Hall open Monday through Friday.
Hartzog worked out a schedule with Deputy City Clerk Mary Ellzey where each alternated working Monday through Thursday one week and Tuesday through Friday the next.
As for the vehicle, the commission had OK'd a vehicle for Hammond, but when Hammond did not find what he needed locally he purchased a used vehicle in Alachua County, something that brought criticism in a prior commission meeting.
Hartzog's resignation is effective Feb. 14, but later in the meeting he agreed to the commissioners' request that he stay on until a mold remediation project at City Hall is complete and the city can advertise and hire a replacement.
The search for a replacement will be discussed at the commission's Jan. 28 meeting.
In the meantime, Mayor Teal Pomeeroy said he would like the commission to think about removing the requirement that applicants have a four-year college degree. “Sometimes a lot of people ... (they) didn't get brain-washed in college,” he said.