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City auditor resigns; last day Oct. 15

By Staff | Oct 2, 2010

City Auditor Dona Newman resigned Thursday after serving six years in the position.
Newman’s last day of work will be Oct. 15.
In a letter to Mayor John Sullivan and members of City Council dated Sept. 30, Newman wrote, “I appreciate the opportunity to serve the City of Cape Coral for the past six years. I wish you, the members of the Audit Committee, City staff, and the citizens of Cape Coral the best during this troubled economic time and in the future. I feel that with the spirit of cooperation and trust there will be good outcomes.”
Newman’s salary was over $120,000 annually.
Replacing her will fall to city council, which acts as the city auditor’s employer. Along with the auditor, city council also employs the city manager and the city attorney.
Mayor John Sullivan said council will discuss replacing Newman during its workshop on Monday.
Although pleased with the work Newman has been doing, Sullivan said he didn’t want to leave the position vacant too long.
“I don’t want to let that one go down the road,” Sullivan said.
Newman’s investment policy audit was most recently at the center of a controversy between City Manager Gary King and Interim Finance Services Director Linda Senne.
Senne and King were reportedly at odds after Senne responded to Newman’s audit after being told not to do so by King.
As a result, King brought disciplinary action against Senne because, as King wrote, Senne had “unwisely taken an advarsarial position against the Auditor” and exhibited “willful insubordination.”
Senne could now face termination. A pre-disciplinary conference will be held between Senne, King and other parties, but its unclear when the date of that conference will be.
Councilmember Pete Brandt said he hopes that Newman’s replacement can be found soon, as it’s a position he feels should not be left vacant for too long.
“We need that function,” Brandt said. “I hope it will work out fairly rapidly.”
Councilmember Marty McClain said he was surprised by Newman’s resignation, but said he understood her desire to be closer to her family.
He said he was unsure if someone in the city auditor’s office could fill the position, or they would have to go out to a search.
“I would be guessing a search would go out, but we might be able to promote from within,” McClain said. “But then we’d have to fill that void from the next tier down. And right now I’m not sure if someone in that department is ready for the move up.”
City Manager Gary King did not return a request for comment.
City Council meets Monday, at 4:30 p.m., in city hall.