Brooksville city manager's positive job preview wasn't unanimous

BROOKSVILLE — In a year marked by economic adversity and tough challenges to maintain city services on a tight budget, City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha can take comfort in knowing that the majority of her bosses have a favorable view of her job performance.

Cumulatively, council members gave Norman-Vacha a B- and voted Monday night to begin discussions on renewing her contract at the council's first meeting of the new year.

Her current contract technically expired in June, but has an automatic renewal clause if uncontested by either side.

Although Norman-Vacha earned good to excellent marks from council members Joe Johnston, David Pugh, Joe Bernardini and Mayor Lara Bradburn, she failed to win over Vice Mayor Richard Lewis, who gave her "below expectations" and "needs to improve" in 27 out or 37 performance categories.

Lewis has often criticized Norman-Vacha's management style and, in September, called for her resignation after alleging numerous instances of what he termed unprofessional behavior in front of city employees and for giving too-generous contract perks to police Chief George Turner.

In his evaluation, Lewis also criticized Norman-Vacha on what he called a "trend to hire personal friends in staff."

While some other council members expressed hope for improvement in areas of communication toward staff and council, and punctuality, Norman-Vacha received praise for her commitment to long-range goals, including reorganization of departments, infrastructure improvements and building stronger relationships with business and county leadership.

"What you bring to the table is what is most often overlooked by those inside and outside of government: ingenuity, a passion to serve and the courage to change," Bradburn wrote.

Pugh praised Norman-Vacha's fiscal management and gave her high marks for coming up with "new ideas to save money (and) allowing council to lower taxes."

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@sptimes.com or 848-1435.

Brooksville city manager's positive job preview wasn't unanimous 12/22/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 8:01pm]

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