Hardeeville city manager resigns; 5th to leave since 2008

dburley@islandpacket.comFebruary 7, 2014 

Bob Nanni, Hardeeville's fifth city manager since 2008, resigned Thursday night after an hourlong City Council closed session.

Attempts to reach Nanni, who served as manager since November 2011, for comment Friday were unsuccessful, and other city leaders shed little light on his resignation.

"There's no way I can talk about it," Councilman Sal Arzillo said, referring to a confidentiality clause in Nanni's resignation. "His resignation states we won't talk bad about each other."

The five-member council voted unanimously to accept Nanni's resignation from his $96,000-a-year post, according to city attorney Tom Johnson.

Johnson, who will serve as interim manager, said council "did not appear to be surprised" by Nanni's decision to quit.

Councilman Scott Ready declined comment on the resignation. He directed questions to Mayor Bronco Bostick.

"We've been asked to funnel all newspaper calls and media information to our mayor. So I'd like to direct you to him so there's a consistent message," he said.

When reached for comment, Bostick refused to discuss Nanni's decision.

"He resigned and we accepted. ... The city of Hardeeville needs to move forward," he said.

Attempts Friday to reach Councilman Mike Sweeney and Councilwoman Sherry Carroll were unsuccessful.

Though council members would not comment on Nanni's decision, disagreements between the city manager and the panel during recent meetings suggested tension. Some council members had expressed frustration with the city's efforts to build a third fire station near Hilton Head Lakes, according to minutes from the panel's December and January meetings.

The panel voted unanimously last month to approve an additional $78,000 for the nearly $1 million project. Arzillo voiced displeasure with that increase, which paid for moving more fill dirt to the construction site.

"This deal between a city manager and a builder completely circumvents the council," Arzillo said in January. "If it's legal, certainly it's not ethical. The whole thing should have been done in one bid package."

Bostick agreed. He also said the project, scheduled for completion last month, was taking too long.

"I thought that we would be ready for operation in January of this year," he said.

On Friday, Arzillo said the fire station project "has been a horror story" but did not play a role in Nanni's resignation.

"Bob was ready to go," Arzillo said. "He's been looking at other jobs."

Nanni was a finalist last month for the city manager's post in Walterboro, but did not get the job.

Arzillo has been the subject of a state investigation in connection with a Nov. 10 incident in which a video showed him in a confrontation with a Hardeeville police officer at a gas station.

The Hardeeville Police Department filed a report Nov. 14 with the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division, accusing the councilman of interfering with the inspection of the gas station.

A SLED spokesman said Friday the investigation is ongoing and declined to provide further details.

Asked if the investigation had anything to do with Nanni's resignation, Arzillo said, "No, absolutely not. I'm only one vote on this council."

Nanni came to Hardeeville in 2011 after working in city government in Florida.

He replaced Carey Smith, who was Hardeeville's interim manager after Ted Felder resigned in 2011, according to city documents.

Johnson, the attorney and current interim manager, said council has not yet identified candidates to replace Nanni. In the past, the city has hired a temporary manager through the state municipal association, he said.

Johnson was hired last spring after former Hardeeville attorney David Tedder resigned after 14 years with the city.

Follow reporter Dan Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

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