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Ex-city officials told to pay back $5,700 worth of golf perks

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Updated: 9/04/2013 12:01 am
FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. -- Two former city employees accused of taking money from the taxpayers, are now being told to pay up.

The former Fernandina Beach city manager and former fire chief allegedly used a city golf membership discount, more than 100 times, after their resignation.

Former city manager, Michael Czymbor says he's been targeted, but is still playing 18 holes at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club to this day. The city says he used employee privileges as recently as this past July even though he resigned from office in January of 2012.

"If he knew what he was doing, and if in fact he did, then that would be an ethics violation," said City Commissioner Pat Gass.

The city says Czymbor used that discounted rate 163 times after he resigned. Action News obtained a letter, from the golf club, addressed to Czymbor and former fire chief Chuck Bogle. It says Bogle used it 232 times after he resigned on April 30, 2012.

We made calls to both, but only heard back from the former city manager, who tells Action News, "I simply paid what I was asked to pay based upon how many holes I wanted to play on that particular day."

"He never asked for any special privileges," said former general manager of Fernandina Beach Golf Club Damian Brink.

Brink spoke out at Tuesday night's commission meeting, saying he allowed Czymbor to pay that rate for six months after his resignation because he was still getting a severance pay from the city.

"All parties should move on and realize that Mr. Czymbor paid a rate enough times that the city actually benefits from the number of rounds that he played," said Brink.

He also says he was never informed by the city that Czymbor was no longer employed.

Action News asked the mayor if the city dropped the ball, when it comes to that aspect.

"To say he didn't know that he was no longer working with the city, no. He knew," said Mayor Sarah Pelican.

The mayor also tells Action News she believes Czymbor was the one giving the golf club the employee membership list. She did go on to say that currently, the Human Resources department handles that.

Czymbor was the city manager in Fernandina Beach for six years, before he says he was forced to resign. He is now the city manager in Palatka.

Moving forward, the city manager and the city attorney will discuss whether or not the two officials should pay a total of $5,702 to the city taxpayers.
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