Commissioners review manager evaluations

PAHOKEE — Pahokee city commissioners took care of a slew of “housekeeping” items at their recent meeting in addition to approving contracts for parts of the extensive renovation work being done at the lakefront marina and campground.

One was hearing a report from the city’s human resources manager, Jacqueline Ramsay, summarizing the commissioners’ evaluations of City Manager Chandler Williamson, who’s been in office since 2015. She said that overall, his performance was exceeding expectations, although the thoughts of two of the five commissioners were not included.

“Evaluations were submitted by two commissioners out of four, and one from the mayor,” Ms. Ramsay said. “Our newest incumbent, Commissioner Benny Everett, was not able to complete an evaluation based on his tenure. His predecessor refused and declined to complete one, and another commissioner was undecided when the evaluation was occurring. With all the submitted evaluations, the overall score for the city manager’s performance was ranked in the 85th percentile.”

Mr. Everett’s predecessor was former Vice Mayor Nathaniel Holmes, whom he defeated in the March 13 election. The other commissioner who Ms. Ramsay said did not respond, Diane Walker, complained during the discussion that her evaluation had not been accepted, but it was several weeks late, according to the HR manager. She was obliged to compile her summary without Commissioner Walker’s input, she explained, after the deadline for submission had been extended from the election date until the end of March and then into April.

Ms. Ramsay listed “the specific areas that scored high for performance: individual characteristics, 85 percent; fiscal/financial management, 84 percent; professional skills, 86.67 percent; community engagement, 84 percent; reporting, 85.33 percent.”

She continued: “Mr. Williamson far exceeded the expectation in policy execution with a high average score of 90.67 percent. Mr. Williamson’s score as it relates to citizen relations and relations with elected members of the governing body met expectations with improvement.

“His annual performance goals for 2018-2019: 1.) to complete 100 percent funding projects from 2017 legislative session; 2.) increase housing and economic investment in the core of the City of Pahokee; 3.) complete gymnasium and athletic fields renovation; 4.) increase citizen involvement with a minimum of two town hall meetings; 5.) sustain current funding stream for infrastructure projects for the 2019 legislative session.”

Mayor Keith Babb asked commissioners for comments, but there were none about the evaluation results, only Ms. Walker’s remark, “It was sent to me and I completed it, but it wasn’t accepted.”

Ms. Ramsay noted, in response: “I did speak with Commissioner Walker on two occasions, where she said she did not want to complete that. We did extend the deadline more than once so that everyone could have sent these evaluations on time.”

Mayor Babb remarked, “I’m looking forward to our commission/manager retreat, and at that time I’m hoping we would expound on the performance goals for 2018-2019 and come up with some measurements that we can all agree on. Overall, I think the city manager has done a great job.”

Commissioner Everett said he hoped the commission could track progress on the goals Mr. Williamson set. “I am, too, looking forward to that, I think that’s an excellent point that you made, Mayor Babb, regarding setting measurable goals … Also, I definitely would like to discuss the two that were mentioned, citizen relations and relations with elected members, it said, ‘met expectations with improvement,’ and I think those could be some guiding conversations in our commission/city manager retreat.”

No date or venue has yet been set for a retreat, which would have to be open to the public; so far, Mr. Williamson said later, “I think it’s more conversation than reality at the moment.”

In other business, commissioners:

• Canceled their scheduled meeting the evening of Tuesday, May 22, because it conflicts with the Pahokee High School commencement exercise. A special meeting may be called, Mr. Williamson said, if more contracts are finalized for other marina/campground/restaurant renovation work.

• Passed a resolution accepting the transferral of water towers and land from Palm Beach County Utilities, which formerly were operated by the now-defunct Glades Utility Authority. Mr. Williamson explained in response to a question from Commissioner Walker that the city now will be able to collect fees from telecommunications companies that have transmission equipment or wish to place some on the structures.

• Approved a resolution ratifying a contract the city entered into with EDSA Inc. of Fort Lauderdale for a vision plan for the city in July 2017, costing about $47,000.

• OK’d a resolution providing for a contract with Holmes Janitorial Cleaning Services for services through Sept. 30 in the city facilities at 360 E. Main St.

• Approved proclamations of Municipal Clerks Week, Kids to Parks Day and Senior Corps Week.

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