Members of the Brooksville City Council and the city’s Fire Department display a promotional banner for Fire Prevention Week on Oct. 4. From left is Vice Mayor Robert Battista, council member Betty Erhard, Fire Department Inspector Nicole Troche, Mayor Pat Brayton, Acting Fire Chief Brad Sufficool, and council members David Bailey and Blake Bell.

BROOKSVILLE — The Vose Law Firm has rescinded its resignation and will continue as the city attorney for Brooksville.

John Cary, a partner in the firm, was seated in the city attorney’s position Oct. 4, and he asked that the city accept the firm’s withdrawal of its 60-day notice.

Mayor Pat Brayton agreed to make a motion, which passed 5-0.

As reported in Hernando Today in September, City Councilwoman Betty Erhard had asked that the firm’s contract with the city be reevaluated in light of some issues with its performance, accusing it of committing three errors in recent months.

The firm was hired as city attorney on Sept. 17, 2017.

Erhard has included the law firm on a list of elected officials and staffers whom she said weren’t doing their jobs properly. She blamed Vose, former city manager Mark Kutney and others for the accidental sale of the city’s water tower, a major reason for Kutney’s firing.

Erhard added two other mistakes: a typographical error in another city contract and what she said was a “big one,” an inaccurate legal opinion on the legality of the city’s Community Revevelopment Agency donating money to Brooksville Main Street.

Snowberger hired as city manager

Ron Snowberger, who had been acting city manager, was named the city manager at the meeting at a salary of $106,030, and his contract was approved 5-0.

Cary, the city attorney, said the contract was based on the one with the previous city manager, so most of the provisions were the same regarding termination and severance, and the residency requirement was removed.

Erhard said that she had nothing against Snowberger but thought he should be a resident of the city, but she said she was glad to see that the vehicle stipend had been removed from his contract. She also wanted an annual contract, “as opposed to an open-ended contract.”

Brayton said he was satisfied with the contract, and that Snowberger’s performance would be reviewed annually and he’d receive a rating.

“If we do an annual review and we don’t like him, we fire him,” Brayton said. “It’s an annual agreement between the board and the city manager, and I’ve said this for years, even when I was on the Charter Review Committee, that if you aren’t happy with the manager and you don’t like him, you terminate him.”

Erhard asked if the city had to pay severance if a city manager was fired. Cray said it wasn’t a legal requirement but it was “standard in the industry,” and he said he had never seen a city manager contract that didn’t have severance provisions.

Snowberger thanked the council for their vote and said he planned to leave things better than he found them.

In other action

• The council voted to recognize Fire Prevention Week, which ended Oct. 9, and to recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

• The council voted 4-1, with Councilman Dan Bailey dissenting, to hire a consultant for $12,000 to look at options to repair or replace the Department of Public Works building. Bailey objected to the payment.

• The council voted 5-0 to approve reactivating the Community Development Block Grant Citizens’ Task Force and accept a five-member board with one alternate, pending completion of background checks for some members.

• The council heard a presentation from Archway Partners for a development of affordable housing to be called The Oaks at Candlelight, on a piece of land near Cortez Boulevard and South Broad Street. The plan is for three-story, garden-style apartment buildings with 108 units, plus amenities such as a clubhouse and a fitness center. The council voted 3-2, with Erhard and council member Blake Bell dissenting, to have the city attorney draw up a $20,000 loan resolution for the meeting on Oct. 18.

• The council heard a presentation from Housing Trust Group on a possible affordable housing development on Lamar Avenue and Hale Avenue, a total of 190 units. The developer was requesting a $36,500 loan, and the council approved drawing up a resolution, with Erhard dissenting.