City engineer terminates agreement with city

Lynn Burnett is no longer serving as a city engineer for the city of Anna Maria. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – The City of Anna Maria and Lynn Burnett and her LTA Engineers engineering firm have parted ways.

The development was announced during last week’s City Commission meeting when commission Chair Brian Seymour referenced a four-page printout the commissioners received in their city hall mailboxes. The printout contained some of the email exchanges shared among Burnett, Mayor Dan Murphy and Ayres Associates Vice President Jay Saxena in recent months.

“Lynn Burnett has terminated her professional agreement between LTA and the City of Anna Maria. We wish her well and we’ll still have the ability to use her in the future,” Seymour told the commission.

“She still will continue to work with the MPO (Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization) and the ITPO (Island Transportation Planning Organization) on our behalf. We have Ayres as our other city engineers, so we feel confident moving forward,” Seymour said.

On Jan. 16, Burnett sent Murphy an email that said, “Following the events over the last several months, please accept this email as written notice of my termination of the Master Agreement for Professional Services between LTA and the City of Anna Maria. In the event that circumstances change and the city wishes to enter into a new agreement in the future, we would be more than happy to meet to discuss the terms and conditions of a new agreement.”

“I don’t anticipate any delays or issues with our work plan and our deliverables with her departure.” – Dan Murphy, Anna Maria mayor

On Dec. 5, Murphy sent Burnett an email that said, “As you will recall, you and I have had conversations about the city’s capital plans going forward and the role change your firm would play. It has been our intention to include your firm in this transitioning. However, if you do not wish to be part of this effort, please advise and the contract will be terminated according to the language contained in that agreement. It has been a pleasure working with your firm and we hope to continue that relationship going forward into 2019.”

The printout also contained a Dec. 2 email Burnett sent to Murphy, City Clerk LeAnne Addy and City Attorney Becky Vose regarding a letter and email correspondence she received from Ayres Associates.

“I am confirming that it is the city’s intent to terminate the master agreement for engineering services with LTA Engineers dated Feb. 8th, 2018,” Burnett wrote.

On Nov. 28, Saxena sent Burnett an email that said, “Please see attached letter providing some discussion regarding the transition of Ayres Associates as the prime city engineer and prime point of contact going forward in serving the city.”

The decision to use two engineering firms dates back to 2017, when both Burnett and Ayres responded to the city’s request for proposals for engineering services. It was decided then that Ayres would provide engineering and design services for the construction of a new city pier and Burnett would continue her work on the city’s stormwater, drainage, street and road projects.

When contacted Friday, Burnett said, “I have always been, and remain, very committed to the property owners, the residents and the three Island cities and I will continue to do my very best to look out for the interests of all three cities.”

After returning from his recent vacation, Murphy said on Sunday, “We thank Lynn for her past contributions to our city. I don’t anticipate any delays or issues with our work plan and our deliverables with her departure.”

While serving as Anna Maria’s city engineer, Burnett designed the vertical infiltration trenches that are part of the city’s stormwater retention, drainage and filtration system. She continues to serve as the contracted city engineer for the cities of Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach.