Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Seminole council to Frank Edmunds: Don't leave, we like you

SEMINOLE — Based on job evaluations, City Manager Frank Edmunds will go out on a gusher of admiration and gratitude when he retires early next year.

Three of his seven bosses — Mayor Leslie Waters and council members Jim Quinn and Bob Matthews — gave him perfect scores of 72 points. Two others, Seminole council members Thom Barnhorn and John Counts, gave him 70 points. Ranking him the lowest with a 64 was Christopher Burke. Patricia Plantamura did not submit a written job evaluation for the third straight year.

In handwritten and typed memos, Plantamura referred to Edmunds' alleged failure to provide her with written answers to questions she has repeatedly asked. Plantamura said she also has new questions she wants answered before doing Edmunds' evaluation.

"It is necessary for me to have all of your answers to my questions, or at least response from you as to when you will have all answers to me, before the Fourth of July holiday this week," Plantamura wrote. "With the answers I receive from you in mind I could best complete your evaluation. I await word from you as to when that will take place."

Burke's individual rankings were unavailable early Monday. But his written comments mirrored those of the majority of the council in their praise of Edmunds' job performance, criticizing him only for being "too gentle" with staff members.

"This year has also produced a few negative staff issues, which Mr. Edmunds has handled correctly," Burke wrote. "In my opinion, I found that Mr. Edmunds can be more patient and forgiving at times than may be best for city operations. However, if his only fault is that he is too gentle with staff, Mr. Edmunds can certainly hold his head high."

Edmunds, 63, became Seminole's first city manager in 1995 after the city changed its government from a strong mayor to a council-manager style. He earns about $128,832 a year. He announced in early June that he will retired Jan. 16, about a year short of the period set by his employment contract.

Burke, in his comments, asked Edmunds to reconsider: "Frank, I implore you, in the strongest possible way, to reconsider your departure from our city. While I know you cannot be our city manager forever, we are approaching some very large turning points in Seminole that the city needs you to guide us through."

Although she did not submit a written evaluation, Plantamura has historically offered a drastically differing viewpoint of Edmunds. In a 2009 written evaluation, she gave Edmunds 26 out of 72 points. The next year, she raised that to 33 out of 72 points. During the oral portion of the evaluations, she accused Edmunds of violating state law, contributing to a high turnover of city clerks, and failing to respond in writing to criticisms she made during the 2009 evaluation.

In the past few months, Plantamura has blamed Edmunds' management style for creating an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation that resulted, in part, in a department head's threatening her life. The department head denied the allegations and a sheriff's investigation was closed and marked "solved, non-criminal."

Some of the other council members used the evaluation to dismiss Plantamura's complaints about Edmunds. Burke, although he did not identify Plantamura by name, had this to say: "I realize that one of our council members has treated you very poorly and made every effort to cause you grief and consternation. Please know that your service to the city, both past and present, is wholly appreciated by the rest of the council and — more importantly — by our citizens. … The city of Seminole will be forever in your debt."

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

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