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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Ocala residents lend support for former fire chief, Ocala City Manager

Multiple Ocala residents showed up to this week’s Ocala City Council meeting to lend their support behind both former Ocala Fire Rescue Chief Shane Alexander and the woman who terminated his contract with the city, Ocala City Manager Sandra Wilson.

“I’ve been here before regarding the city manager’s position and I’ll put the blame on myself that maybe I’m not communicating it properly. When all this came about, I asked the city to hire the fire chief for the city manager’s position, and of course it did not go that way,” said Ocala resident Glen Fiorello. Fiorello went on to suggest that the city needed to “put the brakes” on everything because it was “going in a bad direction.” 

“The abrupt termination of our fire chief Shane Alexander does not make sense” said PG Schaffer. She alleged that Alexander’s firing has caused uncertainty amongst fire rescue staff and department heads. “Now is the time to right the wrong…The City Manager must be removed and the interim manager must reinstate chief [Shane Alexander].”

“Are we having this conversation because of the business of running the city, and how effective the CEO/President is running the corporation?” asked Bishop David Stockton. 

“Ocala is much divided. We are here attacking the city manager. We don’t have all the facts,” said Narvella Haynes of northeast Ocala. Haynes suggested the city conduct and investigation to “see why [Alexander] was fired” and make the findings public. 

Former Ocala City Council member Mary Rich offered her “two cents” on the matter after suggesting that Fiorello, who referred to Rich during comments on July 6 in addition to the July 20 meeting, was mischaracterizing her words. 

“Sandra Wilson is doing an excellent job running this city,” said Rich.”She is following her contract, I don’t think we need to discuss it.”