Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Kenneth City's first town manager will earn $81,000 annually

KENNETH CITY — Town Council members have settled on the details concerning the pay and benefits their first town manager will receive.

It is expected that Matt Campbell, 42, of Crystal Beach will accept the package worked out in negotiations with Mayor Teresa Zemaitis before coming to the council for approval on Wednesday. Provided Campbell still agrees, he is expected to begin work no later than March 3. He will be paid $81,000 a year and will have access to a car while working but it will not be a take-home vehicle. It is unclear what the total package is worth. Officials had not computed the cost.

Although the final decisions were unanimous, not all council members were happy with the package. Joanne DeSimone said she thought the salary was too steep considering that this will be Campbell's first job as manager and that he is currently unemployed. Campbell was assistant to the city manager of Dunedin from September 2010 through last November. He was earning $65,000 a year for that job.

DeSimone said Kenneth City should have offered him a salary closer to the bottom of the $75,000 to $85,000 pay scale set by the council for the position. Offering him something at the low end of the scale, she said, would still give him a "nice increase."

She pointed out that the town had budgeted $82,000 for the job and that Campbell had asked for $81,000.

"Wasn't it interesting that he came up with 81?" she asked.

But the other four council members overruled her, saying that they wanted the process to be pleasant for all and to start out on a good footing.

"In a gesture of good will . . . not to be bickering over money," council member Adam Mayefsky said. This is a "positive moment for us. ... It's going to be wonderful."

Zemaitis backed him up, saying Campbell had yielded during negotiations on some other demands.

"I would like to see this on a positive note," the mayor said. "I'm not saying we give him the moon and the stars."

Council member Phil Redisch stopped the debate by saying, "I think a unanimous agreement by the council now is in order."

Council members also agreed to spend up to $4,000 for a desk, credenza and other office furniture and up to $1,500 for a computer and necessary software for the manager.

DeSimone was not the only one with concerns. After the meeting, Kenneth City police Chief Mike Rossi could be heard talking to citizens, commenting that he had received complaints from the council, notably Mayor Zemaitis, when he bought himself a desk for about $1,100 but the desk for the city manager is estimated to cost about $1,400.

The argument over spending about $3,000 for three desks for the Police Department consumed much of the summer. Zemaitis, who, as chief financial officer, oversees the purchasing, had criticized Rossi mostly for the chief's failure to follow proper procedures when buying the desks. The council overrode her concerns and the department was allowed to keep the desks.

Immediate oversight of purchases will become one of the manager's duties when he takes over, although the council will still have say-so regarding large purchases.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450. Follow @alindbergtimes on Twitter.

Comments
Rain can’t stop hundreds of Lightning fans from watching Game 6

Rain can’t stop hundreds of Lightning fans from watching Game 6

TAMPA — If the Tampa Bay Lightning can overcome a 2-game deficit to the Washington Capitals and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final, then Deborah Schmeltzer can definitely drive across the Howard Frankland Bridge through a driving rainsto...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

WASHINGTON — Interesting how things work out in the world of hockey.Back in 2012, the first NHL team to ever interview Jon Cooper for a head coaching job was actually the Washington Capitals. The Caps general manager at the time was George McPh...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

WASHINGTON — It's incredible. Unbelievable, really. Maybe the best sports story in this country and the sport of hockey since 1980's Miracle on Ice.And, as a side note, if the Lightning reaches the Stanley Cup final, everyone in the country out...
Updated: 1 hour ago
One of Ybor City’s most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

One of Ybor City’s most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

TAMPA — Developers are poised to launch construction this week on one of Ybor City’s biggest new projects in years — a four-story, $50 million boutique hotel being created by a Chicago company that seeks out neighborhoods rich in color and character....
Updated: 2 hours ago
State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

VERO BEACH — All season, Admiral Farragut has focused on two things:Believe in each other.Commit to the process.Well, it all paid off in a big way Monday in the Class 3A state semifinals at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.Alyssa Rano hit a two-run ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Man recalls beating from Hernando deputies in federal excessive force trial

Man recalls beating from Hernando deputies in federal excessive force trial

TAMPA — The allegations at the core of Michael Bratt’s lawsuit against three Hernando County deputies have been repeated in court papers for eight years since his violent arrest.But on Monday, a federal jury in Tampa heard Bratt describe in his own w...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District and its teachers’ union moved closer to resolving their salary dispute during Monday’s negotiating session — but stopped short of reaching an agreement.The teachers, who have spent this school year work...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High court sides with businesses over workers

WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that businesses can prohibit their workers from banding together in disputes over pay and conditions in the workplace, a decision that affects an estimated 25 million non-unionized employees. With the...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Less than one year after historic flooding, Alafia River spills its banks again

Less than one year after historic flooding, Alafia River spills its banks again

LITHIA — Frank Rodriguez was still several hundred yards from his house Monday when he pulled his SUV to the side of the road and changed into a pair of beach shoes.Ahead of him, the way home along River Drive was submerged. He was spared a wade thro...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG  — Christian Arroyo has watched more than 50 Rays games at Tropicana Field from the stands. Has been on the turf for his younger sister's gymnastics competitions and once, while it was in football configuration, to take grou...
Updated: 3 hours ago