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Gulfport picks known quantity for clerk job

GULFPORT — Seminole City Clerk Leslie DeMuth is expected to be confirmed Thursday as the new Gulfport city clerk.

It is a role she has performed from 1984 to 1998.

Individual City Council members interviewed DeMuth and two other candidates separately Monday. The full council then met in the afternoon and unanimously offered the post to DeMuth.

"It was a tough decision," said Mayor Michael Yakes. He said the tipping factor for him was DeMuth's knowledge of the city and Pinellas County government issues.

Yakes said it will be important for DeMuth to work closely with the council as it works with other governmental entities and associations.

"The job goes beyond the boundaries of Gulfport," Yakes said.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday to ratify a contract negotiated with DeMuth. If approved, DeMuth plans to give Seminole 30 days' notice and start her new post in Gulfport on Feb. 9.

"I would like it to be five days' notice, but I am respectful of the 30 days," Yakes said. "But maybe Seminole will be generous and let her give them 20 days."

The details of DeMuth's contract were still being worked out Tuesday, but Yakes said the city is offering her a salary of approximately $72,000, slightly higher than her current Seminole salary of $68,980. When the city advertised the position, it indicated that it would be willing to pay up to $80,000 for a new city clerk.

DeMuth told council members during her interviews that she would be willing to accept between $72,000 and $74,000.

"I am excited and looking forward to being back in Gulfport," she said.

The previous clerk, Donna Spano, earned $52,538. She was forced to resign amid accusations of incompetence and excessive absences.

Spano did not have a contract with the city, which complicated the city's negotiations over her resignation. In the end, the city paid Spano $25,000 to leave her job.

The contract negotiated with DeMuth, the first the city has ever had with a city clerk, will spell out exactly what her duties are, what kind of benefits she will receive, and how she would be compensated if she were to resign or be fired.

"A contract provides clarification and works both ways to protect both the employee and the city," Yakes said.

Gulfport picks known quantity for clerk job 01/06/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 8, 2009 11:09pm]
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