City Manager Mark McQueen announces resignation
City officials in shock
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Panama City Commissioners and officials are grappling with City Manager Mark McQueen’s decision to resign. He made the unexpected announcement at the end of Tuesday’s commission meeting.
“I’m surprised,” outgoing Commissioner Billy Rader said. “I don’t know where it came from. I mean, this is the biggest curve ball I’ve ever seen thrown. “I’m full of emotions right now, full of emotions, and I hope the people know that.”
McQueen has served the role since 2018. He helped Panama City get back on its feet after Hurricane Michael left devastating damage. City leaders say these included helping the city get state and federal funding for a number of projects that would otherwise be put on taxpayers’ backs. These include the hundreds of millions of dollars in grant funding.
“I’m proud of our City Manager,” Rader said. “I want to go on record and say I’ve never seen a finer gentleman. I’ve never seen a man who’s worked this hard in my life as Mark McQueen did.”
City officials also said finding a replacement will be difficult.
“It’s a large, large loss to the city,” Commissioner Jenna Haligas said. “If you’ve all wondered why I’ve been crying all day.”
Panama City is about to undergo a shift in its leadership. Mayor-Elect Dr. Mike Rohan and Commissioners Janice Lucas and Brian Grainger will be sworn into office Wednesday at noon in City Hall.
“I was absolutely shocked to hear that Mark McQueen was going to resign,” Rohan said. “I think he’s been a terrific asset for the community.”
McQueen didn’t give a reason as to why he’s leaving. He said during the meeting he serves at the pleasure of the Mayor. Rohan told NewsChannel 7 he didn’t ask McQueen to resign from his position.
Haligas urged McQueen to stay a bit longer to help them find a replacement.
“60 days?” she said. “How can...he knows everything about everything.”
Commissioners asked McQueen to extend his service until the end of September. He agreed.
“He’s going to be very difficult to replace,” Rohan said. “So, thank goodness he’s going to stay a while to help us find someone who can do the job.”
McQueen will also be given 20 weeks of severance pay. He declined to comment on his decision. Outgoing Mayor Greg Brudnicki and other commissioners also declined to comment on the situation.
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