ST. PETE BEACH — How times have changed for City Manager Mike Bonfield.
A year ago, he was caught in the middle of the city's ongoing development wars, had a divided commission, and had repeated battles with one commissioner who wanted him fired.
In his 2009 job evaluation, Bonfield earned high marks from two commission members, a middling grade from a third, and poor marks from two members about to retire from the commission.
On a scale of 1 to 5 (poor, fair, good, very good or excellent) he earned grades ranging from a high of 4.46 to a low of 1.
A year later, Bonfield has a much different commission.
Gone are commission squabbles and sniping.
Bonfield himself seems more relaxed, even when he asserts his power as city manager.
Last week, his job performance was once again rated by his bosses — with scores ranging from a high of 4.79 to a "low" of 3.875.
"Mike has done a superlative job this year," said Mayor Mike Finnerty. "He has one of the toughest jobs I have ever seen and this year he has been outstanding in all aspects."
Finnerty particularly cited Bonfield's successful efforts to block Pinellas County from cutting more than $1 million in EMS funds for the city.
"That would never have happened without Mike Bonfield as our city manager," Finnerty said.
The rest of the commissioners were as equally effusive in their praise of Bonfield.
"I think you must be a Zen Buddhist to maintain an even keel through a lot of flack," said Commissioner Jim Parent, suggesting the commission pass a formal resolution thanking Bonfield for his service.
Vice Mayor Al Halpern said Bonfield's job was made "easier" by having the "support" of his commission.
"I appreciate the work environment you all are creating and I know the employees do as well," Bonfield said.
Bonfield currently earns $117,180, an amount unchanged since 2007, and his current contract runs through 2012. He has been city manager in St. Pete Beach since 2002 and formerly served as city manager of Madeira Beach.