Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Pete Beach backs off plan to give city manager larger severance package

ST. PETE BEACH — City commissioners backed away Tuesday from a plan to give City Manager Mike Bonfield a larger severance package.

After receiving a flood of e-mails and phone calls from residents upset about the idea, Commissioner Bev Garnett pulled reconsideration of Bonfield's contract from Tuesday's commission agenda.

Instead, Bonfield has now signed a contract, originally offered a month ago, that provides for six months of pay if the commission were to fire him for any reason other than official cause.

Garnett had wanted to increase Bonfield's severance package to at least nine months.

"It became a political firestorm," she said.

Some residents were confused, she said, and wrongly believed that Bonfield had not signed the original contract because he was hoping to negotiate a better package. However, Bonfield had left on vacation at 6 a.m. the day after the commission approved his contract and had no chance to sign it.

By the time he returned, Garnett said she had changed her mind and wanted to offer him a bigger severance package. Bonfield had originally asked for a year's salary if he were dismissed from his job.

"In defense of Mr. Bonfield, there has been a lot of bad publicity going on out there that he is not deserving of," Garnett said.

She said it was "not fair" that she and the commission were "chastised" by residents for doing their jobs.

Commissioner Marvin Shavlan asked whether any commissioners had known before about a new state law restricting severance pay.

Before the meeting, Shavlan said he was sure that no one knew, or "there would have been no interest in discussing it or placing it on our upcoming agenda."

Only Commissioner Jim Parent said he knew about the new law.

"I didn't know what was in it," Garnett said. "I knew a change was coming, but not what was in the law."

However, Bonfield said the commission had talked about the new law months ago when first discussing the need to update his contract.

"I don't think that was a surprise," City Attorney Mike Davis agreed.

The law, which went into effect Friday, restricts new municipal employee contracts to no more than 20 weeks of severance pay.

Since Bonfield signed his contract earlier in the week, he will get an extra month's severance pay for a total of six months.

St. Pete Beach backs off plan to give city manager larger severance package 07/02/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 2, 2011 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Southern heritage groups sue to keep Confederate monument at old Tampa courthouse

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Groups that say they support Southern heritage filed a lawsuit late Friday trying to halt the removal of a Confederate statue from downtown Tampa.

    Workers place boards around a Confederate monument on Hillsborough County property in Tampa on Thursday, August 17, 2017. It took 24 hours to raise private funds in order to move the statue from its current location.
  2. Bucs mull options at right tackle as Dotson awaits MRI


    Right tackle Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, three weeks before the season opener.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneer Demar Dotson, offensive tackle, brought his coffee and breakfast to One Buc Place, 7/31/15, as he reported to training camp.
  3. For starters: Rays vs. Mariners, with another new look


    Having lost 11 of their last 14 games and dropping to a season-worst four games under .500 at 60-64, the Rays continue to search for ways to get out of their extended offensive slump.

    And with the M's starting LHP Ariel Miranda today, that means another new look to the lineup, which includes having struggling …

  4. Chasing 125: Bucs hope to hit rushing goal more often


    Ever so often, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pulls back the curtain a bit and shares some of the stats that matter to him most as a coach.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
  5. Two Boca Ciega students arrested on charges they brought gun to high school football game


    PINELLAS PARK — Two Boca Ciega High School students were arrested for having a loaded semi-automatic handgun with them at a Friday night football game at Pinellas Park High School.

    Two Boca Ciega High School students were arrested for bringing a weapon on school property on Friday night at a high school football game at Pinellas Park High School.