Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

Largo city manager gets praise, raise from commissioners

LARGO — City Manager Mac Craig received high marks for his job performance in his most recent job evaluation.

Craig received an overall average of 4.78 on a 5.0 scale for a ranking of "good to excellent." Six of the seven city commissioners rated his overall performance as "excellent." The remaining commissioner, Curtis Holmes, checked the spaces for both "good" and "excellent."

The ratings were enough to earn Craig a 3 percent raise, which will become effective Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year. The 3 percent is the same increase that other nonunion Largo employees will receive in the coming year.

That bump will take Craig's salary from $149,240 a year to $153,717. That will increase the cost of his retirement — 12 percent of his salary — from about $17,909 a year to about $18,446. Two other perks will remain the same: a $1,200 expense allowance and a $650 cell/data use allowance. His total compensation package will increase from about $168,999 a year to about $174,013 annually.

"I'd like to thank Mr. Craig for another stellar year of leadership," Mayor Pat Gerard said at Tuesday's meeting. She praised Craig's calm leadership that kept Largo city government drama free.

Commission member Robert Murray also praised Craig on Tuesday, saying the quality that stood out among the evaluations was integrity.

"He's very ethical in all his decision-making," Murray said.

Craig, 77, is an Army veteran who also worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. He joined Largo's staff in 2000 as environmental services director and advanced to assistant city manager in 2004, then city manager in 2007.

In this latest evaluation, commissioners praised Craig for his integrity, leadership and ability to forge good relations with other local governments, among other things.

"Mac and his staff have done a great job of submitting and revising budgets that are conservative, and maintain our levels of service in spite of the recession," Gerard wrote.

She added, "Mac has excellent relationships with county staff and with other city managers."

Referring to Craig's leadership skills, Commissioner Michael Smith wrote: "To this point, I support his leadership choices. I believe Largo must start looking in a new direction because times are changing around us. However, Mr. Craig has been working on getting staff and some commissioners to see this."

Holmes, who gave Craig the lowest overall ranking, commented that "no one could answer" some of the questions on the ranking form "unless they're working in City Hall itself," so his responses were "predicated upon a limited knowledge." In rating Craig on "interpersonal skills," Holmes gave Craig an "excellent" and noted he had "heard nothing to the contrary."

But Holmes criticized Craig for suspending former police Chief Lester Aradi for three days in 2009 for being too lenient on an officer who fixed a traffic ticket. Holmes said he wants the suspension removed from Aradi's record. Aradi retired in 2010.

When the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, "the state attorney and the (Police Benevolent Association) all say Lester's handling of the incident with the officer WAS legal, proper, and the right thing to do, I fail to see why the city manager felt compelled to pile on," Holmes wrote.

Holmes did not comment at Tuesday's meeting and voted to give Craig his raise.

Contact Anne Lindberg at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450. Follow @alindbergtimes.

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