There are so many puns to be made in this water tower story, you have to forgive me for plugging one into the headline.
There is no predicting the outcome of Monday night's City Council meeting. Maybe City Manager Mark Kutney will resign. Maybe City Council will terminate him. Maybe Council will link arms with him and Kutney will still be City Manager on Tuesday.
But one thing is sure: Mr. Kutney has lost the public's trust. He has been caught in quite a few lies in the two weeks since the story on the accidental sale of the water tower broke.
- He told the Times reporter he dismissed an employee for the mistake. After the story ran and he realized a lawsuit was likely, he told the reporter the employee resigned.
- He told the Times the mistake wasn't a big deal and the public reaction was sour grapes. He also told them it was such a big mistake that he dismissed an employee for making it.
- He told one TV reporter the former employee was to blame. He told another reporter it was the Community Development Department's fault. He told another it was the Title Company's fault.
- The Times was told the employee left on June 7 because of the water tower debacle, but in a Hernando Sun article, the city says they didn't even know about the water tower sale until June 11.
- The Voice blog exposing the story came out on June 8. Hundreds read it, dozens posted about it, and constituents called their council members to complain about it, but the city staff didn't know until three days later when the Times picked up the story? That seems unlikely.
- Council was told when they asked how much parking was being sold that it wasn't much. Turned out that wasn't true. It was most of the spots. So then Mr. Kutney told a reporter it didn't matter because he was negotiating with the county for parking at the Health Department (which incidentally is not anywhere near the tower).
- We still don't know the truth about the City Attorney's role in the sale. We've been told she signed off on it, then told she wasn't even at the closing when the mistake was made.
Are all these contradictory stories evidence of serial dishonesty or gross incompetence? And does that matter? So far City Manager Kutney has blamed just about everyone else (even the public) for this debacle. We are not fooled and we are offended by the arrogance of the attempt. A Google search will tell you he lost his last management job for being dishonest. I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. He has spread lies, division, and suspicion long enough and we now see it for what it is, an attempt to create fighting amongst ourselves so we forget about the man causing it.
Those of us who take pride in our connection to Brooksville and long for its success are united in one desire, a City government we can trust. Here's to believing the next 24 hours will bring it.