Updated Friday at 10:11 a.m.: The City Commission approved Hunzinger’s resignation, and Pegeen Hanrahan, Gainesville’s mayor from 2004 to 2010, said she was disappointed by the decision.
“I think he has been treated somewhat unfairly by a small number of critics these last few days by some members of the City Commission,” she said.
Hanrahan, who was crucial to Hunzinger’s hiring, said she thinks it was a politically motivated move and heard he was forced out by city commissioners.
“It’s been a very, very difficult working environment, emanating from some activists … to the biomass plan to some division on the city commission,” Hanrahan said.
She said she believes Braddy forced him to resign and that Hunzinger is just a scapegoat for the biomass controversy.
Even with the scrutiny during his five-year tenure at GRU, Hanrahan said he did what he could with all the pressure that was on him.
“He’s not perfect,” she said. “I’m not perfect. I certainly don’t think any of the public officials are perfect, but he’s fought to do a good job for Gainesville. And I’m personally appreciative of his service.”
Updated Wednesday at 4:44 p.m.: The City Commission is discussing the resignation of Gainesville Regional Utilities General Manager Bob Hunzinger. Commissioners were upset they weren’t told by Hunzinger about a deal he had signed off on.
Hunzinger’s attorney Ted Delegal defended his client by saying that all the information on the agreement that was entered into in March 2011 has been on the website for more than two years.
“This has not been a secret — this has been something that’s been out there,” Delegal said. “It seems very strange that this was brought up just on the eve of a change to the employment contract permitting Mr. Hunzinger to move on.”
Updated Wednesday at 10:41 a.m.: Gainesville Regional Utilities General Manager Bob Hunzinger’s formal resignation is expected to be presented at 1 p.m. by Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy at today’s city commission meeting downtown.
In 2007, Hunzinger resigned as general manager from Kentucky’s Owensboro Municipal Utilities (OMU) after pressure from the utility commission. Two weeks earlier, an employee survey cited “concerns about morale and management,” according to the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.
Hunzinger refused to comment at the time and was found to be in violation of providing public records on the details of his resignation, according to documents from then-Kentucky Attorney General Gregory D. Stumbo (download).
Like GRU, OMU is a city-owned utility. OMU supports 26,000 customers compared to GRU’s 93,000. GRU is the fifth largest utility in Florida.
Hunzinger joined GRU nearly three months after leaving OMU at the request of Pegeen Hanrahan, Gainesville’s mayor at the time.
“I’m a big Hunzinger fan, as is (former Gainesville Mayor) Craig Lowe, as is most of the city commission,” Hanrahan said in an interview today.
Lowe, who was a city commissioner when GRU hired Hunzinger, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Prior to his post at OMU, Hunzinger was director of engineering and operations for the Soyland Power Cooperative in Decatur, Ill.
Original Story, Wednesday: Gainesville Regional Utilities General Manager Bob Hunzinger announced his resignation in a letter signed by him and Mayor Ed Braddy on Wednesday.
Hunzinger will remain with GRU until Nov. 15, according to the letter.
He and Braddy began meeting in early September to discuss the transition and long-term plans for GRU, the letter states.
Hunzinger’s resignation comes after the “pending completion” of the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC).
Hunzinger has not commented.