As you know, the City Commissioners have been conducting evaluations of the Charter Members, which have been overdue for months now. Before the Charter evaluations started, a raise was granted to staff members of 1.5 percent.
At the last City Commission meeting, it was announced that the city clerk, upon finishing her evaluation and probation, was given a five percent raise in addition to her 1.5 raise which gave her a total of a 6.5 percent raise so far this year.
I think the city staff has gone over and above what has been expected of them. Raises are always expected but we are in the middle of a budget crisis. How does the commission justify such a pay raise for the clerk and the other employees are stuck with a 1.5 raise? The commission claims Ms. Ard met all her goals so would a raise be in the offering? Four votes are needed to give Ard a raise so I guess anything is possible.
If Ms. Ard has done such a good job, why is there a need for her lawyer to intercede on her behalf? Why is there a need to keep her evaluation confidential and for it to be written into her contract when it is a public record of the city?
Ms. Cole’s evaluation of Ms. Ard shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone because the past events have been well documented in the paper since Ms. Ard has been city manager. The commissioners need to take on the responsibility of recognizing what everyone else has been observing over the last two years. For the city’s sake, the four commissioners, who hold the vote, need to take their blindfolds off and recognize that the city has a big problem to deal with and the situation is only getting bigger while costing the city money that it cannot afford to spend.
Until next week, I think the relationship between Mrs. Ard and her attorney is very intimidating to say the least; it doesn’t make for a very good working relationship between employee and employer.