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Two for the road

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Two officials thrust into the firefighter controversy last summer will soon depart Orlando city government, but for different reasons.

Three-term Commissioner Don Ammerman lost his bid for reelection April 9 to accountant-turned-attorney Phil Diamond, who was strongly backed by the downtown establishment and takes office June 1.

Mark Munsey, the city's risk manager, notified city officials last week that he was resigning effective April 11. Munsey's departure surprises no one because city administrators were investigating whether his behavior in the firefighter suit damaged the city's image.

Munsey and Ammerman met last August to discuss whether city employees had deleted information from a computer in Munsey's office. Five months later, Ammerman came forward with details of the meeting, sparking allegations of a City Hall cover-up.

Munsey denied saying that a computer had been tampered with. His comments were backed by a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation initiated by Mayor Glenda Hood. But in the FDLE report, seven witnesses contradicted other points of Munsey's testimony, raising professional and ethical questions about his involvement. It still isn't clear why Munsey met independently with firefighters and their attorneys.

Ammerman's loss had less to do with the firefighter suit than it did with the public's loss of confidence. His stand on gay rights was especially vexing. He signed a pledge with a gay-rights group vowing to back an ordinance prohibiting discrimination in housing and hiring, then attacked Diamond for signing the same pledge.


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