BROOKSVILLE — County Administrator David Hamilton recently marked his two-year anniversary on the job, and it was Hernando County Commission Chairman John Druzbick who last week delivered his colleagues' succinct evaluation of the work their chief executive has done:
Summarizing the commissioners' evaluations of Hamilton, Druzbick noted the administrator's strengths and weaknesses, saying that "creativity is still a strong quality, but this board rates his adaptability as his greatest strength.''
Board members also said Hamilton "excels better in communicating with the public than he does with the governing body.''
Druzbick also noted that the fact that Hamilton made it to his two-year anniversary was a sign of how tenacious he is, given the high turnover in county administrators in recent years.
Earning a score of 3.68 on a scale of 5.0, Hamilton's overall evaluation had him meeting or exceeding expectations or having proficiency in nearly all cases.
Hamilton's self-evaluation closely tracked the commissioners' assessment. He graded himself at 3.73.
More telling, the self-evaluation provides a glimpse at the goals Hamilton has set for the coming year and insight into his analysis of what has worked for him and the county over the past year.
For the second year in a row, Hamilton, 60, has tied his own fate to his ability to successfully complete the stalled Hernando Beach Channel dredge.
He also tells commissioners that he should be judged next year on several other projects, including his efforts to reorganize the Public Works Department, move forward with the proposed judicial center, begin community initiative projects in both south Brooksville and Hernando Beach, and work with the commission and the sheriff on issues relating to the operation of the county jail.
In addition, he vows to bring the board a 2011 budget that is balanced without raising fees or taxes, and work on the strategic tasks identified by county staffers and prioritized by commissioners at their goal-setting session in January.
Among the accomplishments that Hamilton lists for the past year are the "rhythm and flow" of the new leadership structure approved by the board, developing concrete plans for projects in both south Brooksville and Hernando Beach, restructuring Human Resources under new management, a "collegial approach" to developing the first contract with the Teamsters Union and budget adjustments that cut spending while maintaining services.
Hamilton gives himself only one "excellent/proficient" mark — in creativity.
" 'Adapt, adjust, improvise' is a motto that accurately depicts this important aspect of county administration's approach to dealing with a host of issues in Hernando County as we transition into a more effective and efficient organization,'' Hamilton wrote.
The example he gave for his creative approach was the south Brooksville and Hernando Beach community initiative teams.
On the issue of whether he has an appropriate sense of humor to lighten the load, Hamilton marked himself as exceeding expectations, while three commissioners only gave him a grade of meeting expectations.
In additional comments, he reminded commissioners of what he said in his original job interview when they noted that his two predecessors stayed only a short time because of negativity in the community.
Hamilton's response was that he would "not empower negative energy.''
In his evaluation, he said that philosophy feeds into his humor.
He wrote: "I tend to take the work seriously while not taking myself very seriously.''
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.