Below is an interesting article from today’s online PBPost.com
I honestly don’t know what is says about our government. It may or may not say anything, what is obvious however is in the last 15 years, we have not gotten close to a tenure of longevity like some of the communities represented below. The communities with longevity are also some of the more successful in our area.
During my tenure as a Commissioner, I have had one Town Manager change (Mayor Dubois and Commissioners Hockman and Stevens have each had one change as well) I support the reasons we made that change. I am confident that given the opportunity to do the job he was hired for Mr. Dale Sugerman can serve our community for many years. I hope he is given that chance.
Why have we had the numerous changes in the past…… you may be interested to go back through our history as a Town and do a bit of historic analysis.
Government managers in Palm Beach County: The carousel keeps turning
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
After 13 years as head of the Palm Beach County League of Cities, Jamie Titcomb was hired as manager of North Palm Beach. He lasted seven months before he was fired.
In Palm Beach Gardens, Nabar Martinez was on the job for fewer than 10 months in 2000 before being sacked. Before that, Joseph Gallegos was manager for just three years, from 1995 to 1998, before he resigned.
Then there’s Bob Weisman. He’s been running Palm Beach County for 21 years. David Harden’s been boss in Delray Beach for 22.
A Palm Beach Post survey of Palm Beach County’s managers shows that Weisman and Harden are the exception. The average tenure nationally for a municipal or county administrator is about seven years. But in Palm Beach County, the median tenure’s just five years.
Only 21 local managers have held their current post that long, and only 13 for a decade or more.
Boynton Beach, the county’s third largest city, still doesn’t have a manager. Lori LaVerriere has been interim since June 2011, when she replaced Kurt Bressner, who’d held the job for a little more than 11 years — a stretch that would have ranked him in the county’s top 10.
LaVerriere still is in the mix to get the job outright, but a new hire would require four of five votes, and in February two commissioners supported a “no confidence” vote that fell short. The city’s also done a national search that in June narrowed to one finalist: Michael G. Miller of New Mexico. The commission is set to again discuss the post at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Probably fewer than five percent of governments nationwide are changing managers within six months to a year, according to Lynn Tipton, executive director of the Florida City and County Management Association.
One reason for longer tenures, Tipton said might be that, is that in the past, city panels often had fixed terms, say five years, with every seat coming up at the same time, which “can lead to a turnover in the manager because the people that hired that manager are gone.” Now, she said, many councils stagger elections.
And, she said, it costs money to hire a new manager: hiring a consultant or a “headhunter”; flying in candidates; and sometimes generating start-up costs associated with new benefits packages.
David Harden’s nearly 22 years in Delray Beach is no mean feat; his business cards are older than two whole towns — Wellington and Loxahatchee Groves — and in the same time period, Lake Worth is on its eleventh manager. It puts him in select company in Florida. A few managers are well into three decades at the same place and the manager of Macclenny, a small county seat near Jacksonville, has been there for 45 years.
Harden recalls advice his predecessor gave him: “Because you always treat commissioners the same, give them all the same information. Don’t socialize with commissioners. And don’t take issues personally.” He remembers one panel with two commissioners who would have fired me if they could.” He survived.
Harden’s now 69. Asked if he’s thought about how long he’ll stay at Delray Beach, he said, “not that I want to talk about.”
Now’s not a great time to be working for a city, as local governments strain under the burden of lower property values, which of course translate directly to lower property taxes, any city’s life blood.
And it turns out tenure doesn’t always line up with pay. Despite having held his post the longest, Harden’s ranked eighth in salary. Not surprisingly, the top earners come from large or well-off cities: Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Wellington, Palm Beach. Tops after county administrator Weisman is Leif Ahnell, who’s run Boca Raton since 1999.
Often, it’s about the number of hats the manager wears, the state association’s Tipton said.
Many cities farm out much of their services — police, utilities, engineering — to other government entities or to private firms. Lake Worth and Wellington, for example, contract with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. And the far-west hamlet of Loxahatchee Groves pays a private firm a flat $250,625 a year to run the whole town government.
But other cities have their own public safety, water plants and code enforcement, and while managers have to oversee all of those, some actively run them, along with everything else they do.
“You’re never going to get apples to apples,” Tipton said. “You’re lucky if you get apples to oranges.”
Boca Raton’s Ahnell, the county’s highest paid city manager, said a recruiting brochure from Fort Pierce recently landed in his mail. It said the town of 41,000 has 360 employees and $66 million budget, one-seventh of Boca Raton’s $470 million. And it was offering up to $150,000; two thirds of what Boca Raton pays Ahnell.
He notes he runs a city of 86,000, with a water plant that serves those plus another 64,000 or so outside city limits. He has 1,600 full time employees, including police and fire departments, and has a $470 million budget.
He gives another example closer to home.
“I love Wellington,” he said. “But Wellington doesn’t have train tracks. They don’t have I-95, They don’t have the beach and the canals and the waterfront to deal with. Even though we think they’re all the same, there are a kit of unique things to communities.”
Staff researchers Neils Heimeriks and Michelle Quigley contributed to this story.
TOP MANAGERS BY TENURE
1. David T. Harden Delray Beach 1990
2. Robert Weisman Palm Beach County 1991
3. Kenneth Schultz Hypoluxo 1998
4. Lomax Harrelle Belle Glade 1999
5. Leif J. Ahnell Boca Raton 1999
6. Karl E. Umberger Palm Springs 1999
7. Edward Mitchell West Palm Beach 1999
8. Ron Ferris Palm Bch Gardens 2000
9. Michael Couzzo Tequesta 2000
10. Wadie Atallah Greenacres 2001
11. William Thrasher Gulf Stream 2001
12. Peter B. Elwell Palm Beach 2001
TOP MANAGERS BY PAY
1. Robert Weisman Palm Beach County $251,593
2. Leif J. Ahnell Boca Raton $222,280
3. Edward Mitchell West Palm Beach $210,140
4. Paul Schofield Wellington $210,000
5. Peter B. Elwell Palm Beach $195,766
6. Raymond Liggins Royal Palm Beach $171,244
7. Andrew Lukasik Jupiter $170,980
8. David T. Harden Delray Beach $167,350
9. Wadie Atallah Greenacres $164,569
10. Ruth Jones Riviera Beach $160,500
11. Michael Couzzo Tequesta $156,872