Clewiston commission OKs new manager pact

CLEWISTON — The City Commission approved a resolution Monday, June 17, authorizing Mayor Mali Gardner to sign a contract with Randy Martin, who was selected June 3 to be their new city manager.

She asked City Attorney Gary Brandenburg to describe the terms of the contract for commissioners. “We’ll just go over the basics of the contract,” he started. “The base salary is set at $170,000 to begin, and then every year there’s going to be a performance review. Prior to that … you’re going to meet and you’ll set goals and standards for the manager to meet in the following year. That way you’ll both know exactly what the criteria are going to be for judging his performance in the future, and he’ll know what to expect from you all, and that will set a good foundation for the relationship moving forward.”

The attorney went on to explain that Mr. Martin will receive “all the benefits that all full time employees get, and in addition, his wife who … is leaving a longtime career will be given up to three months’ medical insurance, which will start after the eligibility date and then continue for a maximum of three months or until she’s able to find her first job here in Clewiston. The manager will also receive a not-to-exceed $7,500 moving expense,” Mr. Brandenburg said, which will be paid on a reimbursable basis, with his provision of invoices, and can also include travel, lodging and temporary housing expenses.

If he resigns within the first two years, the contract calls for Mr. Martin to repay a prorated amount of that allowance to the city. He also will receive the same vacation time as an 11-year employee, which is 4.5 weeks, with accrual of seven hours for each two weeks’ pay period. Mr. Brandenburg says the contract specifies he will be reimbursed for all travel outside Hendry County on city business, will receive a city vehicle for his use and also a cellphone, for which the city will pay the monthly charges for an unlimited plan.

There is a termination clause, “which of course we hope we never use,” Mr. Brandenburg said, that allows for termination with or without cause; severance packages differ between the two depending on circumstances. Mr. Brandenburg laid out the contract provisions for these situations in some detail, and added that Mr. Martin has agreed not to look for other employment while working for the City of Clewiston. There is no severance provision if he should resign, and 60 days’ notice is required.

“Those are the basic provisions laid out in this agreement. Mr. Martin has said he is extremely excited about this opportunity. He looks forward to moving to Clewiston and working with you all. He thinks this is a fair basis upon which to begin your relationship, and I believe he told me he would be able to begin… let me just check. Do you remember the date?” Mr. Brandenburg asked acting Interim City Manager Shari Howell. “July 22nd,” she answered immediately. “I know that’s etched in your mind,” the attorney replied, to chuckles. Ms. Howell is nearing the end, now, of her second stint as acting interim city manager.

There was little discussion, except for Commissioner Melanie McGahee’s noting that there are no available vehicles in the city’s fleet. Ms. Howell suggested that the city could lease or buy one. The vote was a unanimous 4-0 to OK the resolution; Commissioner Michael Atkinson was absent. “We feel like we’ve got the right guy,” said Commissioner Julio Rodriguez.

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