Former Fort Lauderdale city official has resigned as the Walton County, Florida administrator effective just one day after one year on the job.
Kisela’s final day as Walton County administrator is June 21. Kisela took over the post after resigning as Destin city manager.
The county administrator announced his abrupt resignation May 22 at the Board of County Commissioners meeting in DeFuniak Springs.
Commissioner Kenneth Pridgen made the motion at the meeting Tuesday. He spoke with Kisela late last week and then met with him Monday to negotiate how he would step down from the position. By a 3-2 vote, with Cecilia Jones and Larry Jones voting no, commissioners accepted the resignation. Kisela will be paid a six-month severance.
The resignation is on the heels of a widespread rumor and earlier reports that commissioners would make a motion to dismiss Kisela from his post.
Walton County commissioners have appointed Gerry Demers to be the interim Walton County administrator.
His resignation comes on the heels of months of speculation that some commissioners were unhappy with him and wanted to fire him.
After the vote, Bob Hudson with the Walton County Taxpayers Association, questioned whether the negotiation for Kisela’s severance pay violated his employment agreement, which ensures the severance only if commissioners terminate him without cause.
Kisela started his job in June 2011 after serving as Destin’s city manager. Since then, he has helped secure funds for widening U.S. Highway 331, a priority for the county for more than 40 years, and put in place more consistent and equitable formulas for fire district funding.
He also saw the county through the process of having an outside firm review its controversial purchase of land off Chat Holly Road. The purchase was made in late 2010, but was called into question last fall because of an apparent lack of oversight.
In a letter announcing that he would not seek re-election in April, Commissioner ScottBrannon said Kisela held an “unacceptable” meeting with resident Suzanne Harris, who has filed lawsuits against the county, and accused Kisela of playing politics rather than representing the interests of the commission.
Kisela served as public works director while in Fort Lauderdale and assistant city manager, where he was mired in numerous controversies.