(Lakeland, TN) Lakeland Mayor Wyatt Bunker is making big waves at city hall by firing long-serving administrators.
The firing happened at a special meeting Tuesday.
Bob Wherry was fired as city manager, and just weeks before that, the city fired its attorney.
Now Bunker’s fellow Commissioner Chris Thomas is applying for the city manager job.
Thomas says if selected, he will serve out his term as commissioner, which ends this summer.
He claims there is no conflict.
Bunker says he made the changes because the city was operating very poorly when he took office.
City manager Wherry didn’t stand a chance.
Bunker even called a special meeting for his ouster even though the board has a meeting coming up Monday.
Bunker said word had gotten out and he wanted to do it before the holiday.
“We just felt like there were some unsatisfactory job performance and there were some things that were not being addressed job performance wise,” said Bunker.
Bunker says employees were treated harshly, cursed at and not properly enrolled in insurance.
He claims Wherry also traveled excessively and it impacted his ability to manage the city.
It sounds like Wherry saw the writing on the wall.
Before the meeting he posted to his website, “Preparing to become ‘the Dead Man’ today after having been ‘Dead Man Walking’ since the Board of Commissioners election in September. Such is life.”
Bunker also got rid of Lakeland’s City Attorney David Lakin the day he was sworn in.
“Several people reported abuse by him, abusive language in meetings. He was inappropriate and aggressive with several people,” said Bunker.
I spoke with Lakin, who says none of that is true.
He served for 13 years and thinks he did a great job.
Lakin says this is all politics and Bunker is over-reaching his authority.
He calls the loss of Wherry a terrible move for the city.
Wherry did not return our calls.
Monday, the Lakeland Board of Commissioner will appoint an interim city manager and will vote on a new city manager by the end of January.