MADEIRA BEACH — To universal praise and a glowing review, City Manager Shane Crawford was given a 3 percent raise last week, bringing his annual salary to $120,510 and his total package, with benefits, to slightly more than $168,000.
The commission also unanimously appointed Aimee Servedio as the official city clerk at an annual salary of $63,500, the same rate paid to the previous city clerk.
Crawford was hired in January 2012 at an annual salary of $117,000.
"It has been a year and a half since I came here. We have had our bumps and bruises but I think we are up and rolling," Crawford said. "All my success I can attribute to the good people I have surrounded myself with."
Crawford had recommended the 3 percent increase for himself, instead of a higher pay hike some commissioners wanted to give him. The 3 percent increase is identical to that being given to all employees.
"Believe me, I would like to give this man a lot more than we will give him," said Commissioner Elaine Poe. "I want you to know our (commission) gave this man a 98.5 (percent) rating. I don't know of another city manager that has gotten this rating in (his first) year. I think he deserves a 150."
The commission's annual evaluation scored Crawford with mostly "5's" on a five-point scale. In fact it was hard to find a "4" rating in the 25-page evaluation.
Vice Mayor Terry Lister and Poe gave Crawford "5's" across the board.
"The services are amazing and we are lowest (property tax) rate on beach," Lister said, suggesting Crawford be awarded a substantial bonus at the end of the year.
"Mr. Crawford came to us at a critical time in our city," Poe wrote in her evaluation. "He not only brought leadership but organizational skills and a perception of what needed to be done and the integrity to accomplish the tasks ahead of him. Mr. Crawford has set a very high standard for what we will expect in the future for a city manager."
Mayor Travis Palladeno, who also gave Crawford mostly 5's, marked him lower only regarding an overtime issue at the fire department.
"(Crawford) is a guy who is no-nonsense and gets it done. I have owned a home and business here for 15 years and I have seen more done in the last year than I have in the last 15," Palladeno said.
Commissioner and former Mayor Pat Shontz gave Crawford 5's in virtually every category, with only four 4's in her evaluation.
"He is a great city manager. He will always give his best and be the best," Shontz said at the commission meeting. "I can't tell you how much respect I have for him."
Commissioner Nancy Hodges was the most critical, giving Crawford 13 4's amid 49 5's.
She particularly praised him for helping to bring a new beachfront restaurant to the city.
In appointing Servedio as city clerk, the commission made permanent the temporary role she had served since last November.
While in her temporary position as city clerk, she continued her duties as assistant to the fire chief and was paid $47,295, a slight raise from her previous salary of $43,135.
In the months since her initial appointment, she received repeated praise from both the commission and the city manager for her job performance.
Two days before Servedio took her oath as the city's new clerk, she celebrated her 30th year of employment with the city prior to taking over the city clerk position.
Previously, she worked in virtually every city department ranging from her most recent post as assistant to the fire chief, to a variety of positions in public works, police dispatch, finance, building and zoning departments, as well as the marina where she set up the first ship's store.
One of the first things Servedio did following her appointment was to have the "ugly brown walls" of the clerk's office repainted a light blue.
"I find the color very relaxing," Servedio said, adding that she has "very mixed emotions" upon leaving the fire department, which she considers her family.
Her new position is a charter post, reporting directly to the commission. Other charter officers are the city manager and city attorney.
However, the commission is considering asking voters to change the charter to have the city clerk report, instead, directly to the city manager.