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Here’s The Scoop .. May 26,2010 LBTS Roundtable Meeting #1 …… She Loves Us, She Loves Us Not? …

INTERIM MEANT INTERIM?…

Dear Readers …We learned last night that the new Interim Town Manager, Connie Hoffman might actually be here for the short term to work her magic in getting to the bottom of  the mess left in the wake of the termination of former Town Manager Esther Colon… As the Commission discussed the Town Manager search Ms. Hoffman reiterated what we had first heard when she came forward to offer the Town her services …that she was available immediately to serve for just the interim position…That position seemed to evolve into a possibility of it being permanent when as she came forward on the day she was chosen…What was added last night was she thought this was also a perfect chance to see if she wanted to return to a Managerial position and if this was the right fit for her…She was put in this position by the surprising comments made by Comm. Vincent who stated after the Mayor’s report as the liaison for the Comm. and the Town Atty./Town Manager to proceed with the search RFQ…The Mayor explained that she had changed her mind about hiring a search firm after carefully considering the cost involved ($12-24,000) and considering the response we received in such a short time for the Interim TM position…She felt we could create a profile with the assistance of the Town Atty. and Town Manager as well as the parameters…The Commission could come up with 5 candidates, have a meeting with the residents and get a consensus of the Commission as they had on April 26th and choose a Town Manager… She spoke about the experience required and compensation …She thanked the Commission for affording her this liaison position, adding this needed to be done quickly and wanted to hear from her fellow Comms.  on how they wanted to proceed…(much of what the Mayor said was hard to pick up due to using the new overhead mike that was not picking it up well, sounding like she was in a tunnel…after she finished it was back to the hand held as well)…

Comm. Vincent was next and went off into left field by saying there was no urgency, he didn’t see it and he wanted to set it aside for 6 months, not do anything now then do a performance review of the Int. Town Manager/Int. Asst. Town Manager and see if there was a need to move forward…He went on to speak of the 5-0 vote for Hoffman…

Comm. Clottey agreed with Vincent that there was no sense of urgency ..she wanted to do an outside search and said she had a problem with Hoffman writing any specs that it put her in a terrible situation ..She said she was happy with Hoffman and said there needed to be a clear choice with no strings  or talking behind closed doors…

TM Hoffman clarified that the specs would be done by PIO Steve d’Oliveira and she would assist with locating public documents… This was when Ms. Hoffman needed to explain her situation and to tell the Commission to move forward with the search while she took that time to decide on whether she wants this…The Mayor thanked her for this…

BC- This writer always felt there was a sense of urgency due to the possibility that Fort Lauderdale might come a- calling for her to return with their own City Manager having one foot outside the door and also due to what Ms. Hoffman has found before her in the Colon aftermath…(We hear there were mountains of Town’s business left unfinished and unattended dating back quite some time as Colon was occupied putting out her own fires!)….

Comm. Vincent still did not seem to catch on and said they could go ahead in 6 months if Ms. Hoffman decided she did not want the job (she stated she would decide in the next 90 days)…

Comm. Clottey wanted Ms. Hoffman to stay through the budget process because it was not advantageous to the town for there to be a new TM at the same time…Ms. Hoffman was put in a corner and stated she did not know how to answer that…The Mayor shut Clottey down stating that was not the discussion for the evening the discussion is on the search…”Clueless” Clottey stated they needed an experienced company and it was not a lot of money stating the last time it was done within the Commission it put them in a bind  and some were not happy with it, it needs to be a “cleaner situation”…

BC- The problem the last time was no search outside and no transparency for 3 years on the contract, the benefits and the payout!…

Vice Mayor Dodd said we have a “unique situation” with this Town Manager and if she decided to move on she could consult with us as we moved forward in the process…He felt we should not go out and pay a firm ..instead be prepared go out with adverts nationally which was not done for Colon but did want some help in choosing the best candidates by a professional…He said the Town could now see the difference in a professional and nonprofessional running the Town…

Comm. Sasser also wanted to go the route of doing it internally agreeing with the Mayor about the turnout we had from the Interim position and added Int. Asst. TM Bud Bentley was among those who responded and while he is happy with TM Hoffman he is also quite happy with Bentley as well….He stated that if the response was not great then  move on to a search firm…He also agreed with Comm. Clottey that there should be a “Chinese wall” in place for Ms. Hoffman…..

Comm. Clottey was still on the conflict issue and Ms. Hoffman said she did not want to help out…The Town Atty. chimed in about the difference in what Ms. Hoffman was offering and what would be a conflict …

The Int. TM stated that we have the basic requirements already in the Charter (prev. post) and explained ho she had done this as a consultant with position profiles and interviewing Comms. for what they were looking for…She chose PIO d’Oliveira for the job because she said he was a “terrific writer.”…

The Town Atty. said she wanted the Comm. to be aware of how important this decision is and that the expense may not be costly when you weigh it against the cost of making the wrong decision.. In hiring a TM we are “basically handing the keys to the car to this person.”..She added the monetary costs vs political costs …angry residents..

Comm. Sasser joked that prior to this the most important decision this Commission made was picking the Vice Mayor!.. He then reiterated his stance…

The Mayor wanted to make it clear they were not choosing within and wanted a full search …wanted to consider the costs and stated they were elected to make decisions …adding they could put together a description with staff (Steve) get it advertised in the ICMA (Manager’s Assoc.) and Florida League of Cities etc…then take the next step..

Comm. Sasser continued from there stating Steve could bring his writeup to the Comm. to approve the ad….

Ms. Hoffman told them they needed to include the salary and benefits …which would narrow or make the field larger for candidates…She recommended they define that..

The Mayor spoke of what could be found on the internet in similar communities in Florida ..stating this area demands a higher salary and she has found the range to between $130-200thousand…+ benefits..and that should be part of the description..

Int. TM Hoffman spoke of finding comparisons of salaries online at a site (prev. post from Oct. 23, 2009 TM Performance Review)..and the salaries being public record…

BC- A “2-11-09 Salary Survey” found last year by this writer … Town/City Managers

Plantation-strong Mayor  $116,058.00

City of Sunny Isles Beach $138,382.40

City of Miami Springs $144,170.00

Cooper City $150,000

Southwest Ranches $160,000

Lauderdale By The Sea (Esther Colon) $160,541.94

Davie $177,022.00

Sunrise $187,334.00

Coral Springs $189,211.00

Miami Gardens $ 190,340.00

North Miami Beach $200,000.00

Hollywood $ 201,106.00

Adventura $ 206,608.00

North Miami $207,438.00

Miramar $ 208,832.00

Hallandale Beach $212,388,80

City of Miami $220,000.00

Fort Lauderdale $ 230,090.00

Pembroke Pines  not an employee-contracted through private company

……………….

Comm. Sasser said this is a great town …

Comm. Vincent countered that the cost of living in Broward county is high…

The Mayor stated she thought the ads should be in Florida alone due to the Sunshine laws and the great pool of people ..that was her recommendation…

Com. Vincent joked “why don’t we make it a part time job..

Vice Mayor Dodd spoke of his problem with one year of severance having he position for 2 years and the accrued sick/vacation leave and wanted it “deeply investigated” of what we’re offering …

The Town Atty. offered up some different combinations of severance tied in with length of employment and no accruals…She added paying out accrued yearly with no carryover..stating in some municipalities really long term employees are walking away with a million dollars!…

Comm. Clottey spoke of calling sick day “personal days” adding teachers have the same accrued sick/vacation leave…(HUH?) …She  said she did not have any carry over at the private university she taught at…

Comm Vincent said “we’re not experts” ..He said the $20,000 could get us the “best bang for our buck”…”Can’t chase a dollar for a dime.”..

Comm. Sasser emphatically disagreed…

Comm. Clottey spoke of being on search teams and gave her rundown on the process..

Comm. Sasser brought the Commission back on track with again reiterating the direction and what was needed to move forward and the package then a workshop…and reiterated what he the Mayor and VM Dodd were in agreement on responses before money spent..

Comm. Vincent did an about face ans stated “that makes sense.”…

The Mayor added onto Comm. Sasser’s statement by saying many of the applicants may not be qualified cutting down the list and agreed on a workshop ..

Comm. Vincent asked “are we going to decide then go to a firm to negotiate” in wanting to know the actual cost involved with hiring a search firm..

Ms. Hoffman said because of the economy firms are now more apt to negotiate ..She also advised the Commission not to wait for 60 days ..to put out an RFP for a firm with what the Town was requiring and get them to hold the proposed cost for 6 months…She stated they did not want to hold the process up or they would lose candidates…She also advised the Commission to break down the elements they wanted …(Ms. Hoffman had previously made this suggestion)…

The Mayor tied it all together …with an assist from the Int. TM and TAtty. with Comm. Sasser reminding them of the workshop and was ready to move on…but…

“Clueless” Clottey wanted to change the qualifications in the Charter and the Town Atty. in unison with several Commissioners reminded her the Charter cannot be changed without a vote of the people…OUCH!…

Not done yet…Dr. Clottey still mumbled on about adding to it and then wanted to know if “shall”  equals “must” as she read a portion of the qualifications ….

The Town Atty. replied yes…

BC- This writer agrees with the Mayor/Vice Mayor and Comm. Sasser….

more to come….

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