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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Oct. 21, 201412:00 PM EST

Embattled employee Terrance Ashanta-Barker resigns from $130,000-a-year city job

by: David Chapman

Terrance Ashanta-Barker, the embattled former neighborhoods director and emergency preparedness manager, has resigned from the city.

His two-sentence resignation letter was dated Friday. The city said he will not receive a severance package.

Barker was appointed by Mayor Alvin Brown to lead the city’s Neighborhoods Department in March 2012. During reorganization this year, he was shifted to the fire department as an emergency manager.

City Council members were critical of him during his time as neighborhoods chief, questioning his preparedness and effectiveness, at times. Other times, it was his lack of providing accurate responses to questions, council members said.

Council President Clay Yarborough said Tuesday afternoon that over the years, he had concerns.

In April, Ashanta-Barker was transferred to the fire department.

During budget hearings in August and September, City Council members voted to remove about $175,000 from the fire department's budget, comprising his $130,000 plus benefits, from the fire department. Yet, after the  Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year, he was still on payroll, drawing the ire of some council members.

“We really didn’t think he was doing anything over there,” council member Matt Schellenberg said this month. “I implore you to let this person go.”

Schellenberg said it was “bad for morale” and affected taxpayers when city employees weren’t performing their duties.

Yarborough said he didn’t know the reason for Ashanta-Barker’s departure, but wished him well. He said he didn’t think Ashanta-Barker was the best fit for the job for which he had been tasked. Instead, he said, it seemed as if a position was found for him.

If so, “that would totally be the wrong way to go about things,” Yarborough said.

“Ultimately, it’s not good for the position or the person,” he said.

Ashanta-Barker is the husband of the chief of staff for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

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