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Largo City Manager Mac Craig scores high on evaluation

LARGO — City Manager Mac Craig had another good year, according to his most recent evaluations from the City Commission. Even Commissioner Curtis Holmes, a frequent critic of the city staff, had nary a negative word to say about Craig.

Holmes had nary a positive word to say about Craig either, though. He declined to fill out the evaluation form, instead submitting a three-page essay questioning the format of the evaluation form, which he termed "a carryover from the previous administration that should be abolished."

The six commissioners who filled out the form gave Craig an average rating of 4.315 out of 5 overall. Craig earned ratings of "satisfactory," "good" or "excellent" in every category.

Craig, 74, took over as city manager in 2007 after the commission fired former city manager Steve Stanton. A U.S. Army veteran who also worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Craig joined Largo's staff in 2000 as environmental services director and advanced to assistant city manager in 2004.

He earns $164,272 in salary and benefits, and like his employees, he will not get a raise this year. Craig declined to talk about his evaluations, which he said will be discussed at the Aug. 16 commission meeting.

Commissioner Gigi Arntzen gave Craig the highest marks — "excellent" in each of the nine categories.

Mayor Pat Gerard was similarly positive, rating Craig "excellent" in all but one category — "work program," which covers Craig's performance in prioritizing and scheduling projects. Gerard rated him "good," saying she felt city departments "sometimes take on more than they can handle in capital projects."

Commissioner Mary Gray Black gave Craig more mediocre grades, mostly "satisfactory," and asked that he take a more active role during commission meetings. She also recommended he take public administration or business administration courses. She complimented him for being a "personable and dedicated gentleman."

Holmes, meanwhile, took issue with the evaluation itself.

"It's a known fact that the former administration used this scored evaluation to boast about a "job well done" and to justify, to the public, financial enhancement for the CM (city manager) … We're not a grade school, we're running a major corporation," Holmes wrote.

Holmes argued that commissioners can't accurately grade the city manager in most of the form's categories, like "technical competence," "administrative management," and "effort/industry."

He submitted five sample questions that he felt should replace the current form. Example: "Does the CM (city manager) carry out with promptness and effectiveness directions of the City Commission?"

However, Holmes didn't answer any of those sample questions either, instead writing an essay that evaluated the evaluation form.

Holmes felt he could only accurately rate Craig's job in one category — "work program." He rated Craig's performance "satisfactory."

"I do not think I, or any sitting member of the commission, is qualified to tell the CM (city manager) how to do the job," Holmes wrote. "The commission steers the ship, we don't make it run."

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or whobson@sptimes.com.

Largo City Manager Mac Craig scores high on evaluation 08/09/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 3:32pm]
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