LARGO — Translated from decimals to school-letter grades, Largo City Manager Norton "Mac" Craig's performance this year would be a well-rounded "B," almost with a plus.
Results were released this week for Craig's latest evaluation by his seven bosses — the mayor and commissioners — for his performance over the past year.
Faced with challenges like an ever-tighter budget and tough calls on directing the resulting budget cuts, most commissioners felt the city manager was more than up to snuff.
"Mac has assembled an excellent team of administrators … the city is on sound financial footing," wrote Mayor Patricia Gerard.
Commissioner Gigi Arntzen was more effusive in her review: "Largo is the wonderful place it is due to your leadership. Even under stressful financial situations, you and your staff have remained positive and focused on making Largo a great community," she wrote.
Despite receiving mostly "good" and "excellent" ratings in most of the evaluation categories such as "integrity," "leadership" and "administrative management," some commissioners raised concerns about other areas.
While still awarding Craig a "good" rating in a management category, Commissioner Robert Murray criticized the manager regarding the decision to look for a new vendor for the city's library cafe.
"There was a breakdown in communication between Mr. Craig and staff regarding the Bookmark Cafe complaints. The commission received this information in piecemeal fashion," Murray wrote.
Mary Gray Black, Craig's harshest critic on the commission, rated his ability to respond to commission direction as "needs improvement" because an agenda item she requested was left out earlier this year.
Craig took over in 2007 after former City Manager Steve Stanton was fired when he revealed plans to have a sex change operation.
Almost immediately following that turmoil, Largo, like most cities in the state, faced large budget cuts due to the foundering economy.
In a nod to the city's current financial constraints, Craig declined a 3 percent pay raise that was offered following his favorable review. He currently makes $164,272 in salary and benefits.
While Craig is among the oldest city employees at 73, he said while he is still performing well and happy, he will continue serving the city.
"One of these days, I'm going to have to move out of here," Craig said. "Right now, I'm happy where I'm at."
Dominick Tao can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 580-2951.