Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Zephryhills city manager runs into City Council 'bombshell'

ZEPHYRHILLS — The City Council postponed a vote to renew the city manager's contract Monday after two members indicated they were not happy with Jim Drumm's performance and appeared ready to vote against retaining him.

The employment agreement, which expires in May, includes Drumm's request for a salary increase in line with the market adjustment the council gave city employees in this year's budget. If approved, it would hike his annual pay from $97,400 to $106,020. Drumm is also asking for a bump in severance pay from two to five months and a contract extension from three to five years.

Council President Lance Smith said he has issues with Drumm over communication breakdowns and his management style; he said he has received numerous complaints from employees of the city and other governmental entities and residents about having a hard time communicating with the city manager. Additionally, Smith said morale is low with employees, many of whom do not feel they have much opportunity for advancement.

"The same people who are talking to you are not talking to me," said Drumm, referring to Smith's comments as a "bombshell." "I would have liked to have heard about this sooner."

Drumm said he is available for anyone who wants to talk and he does his best to return phone calls and emails in a timely manner. He also pointed out that he attends Chamber of Commerce breakfast events and all of the city festivals, making himself as accessible and approachable as he can to residents.

"People approach me in confidence," said Smith. "This is a very difficult position to be in, but I have to speak out. I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't."

Council member Ken Burgess echoed much of what Smith said, suggesting that Drumm's management style and skill set "may be better suited for bigger cities." Burgess said he respects the city manager and recognizes his many positive contributions, but "your management style just doesn't seem to be working here."

Other council members were taken off guard. Council member Charlie Proctor said that while he has heard some complaints about Drumm, they have been few and he believes that overall Drumm is doing a good job. Council member Jodi Wilkeson agreed.

Proctor said his problem with the employment agreement was the numbers — he indicated he did not believe the city could afford the salary increase.

"I was not prepared to fire him, by any means," said Proctor. "If there's a communication problem, we need to address it. This is tough. Is he perfect? No. Am I perfect? No. Is anyone out there perfect? No."

Wilkeson told Drumm she believes he is doing a good job for the city, but that with two council members indicating they do not want him in the position any longer, he should re-evaluate whether he wants to stay.

"There are some strong feelings being relayed here that I had no earthly idea were out there," said council member Kent Compton. "This is a lot to digest. I'm not comfortable taking a vote on it tonight."

Compton's motion to table the item was seconded by Proctor and approved 4-1, with Smith dissenting. The council did not specify when it will readdress the agreement.

City Attorney Joseph Poblick told the council four votes are needed to either reappoint or not retain the city manager. Compton asked him to bring back documents to support his opinion when the council revisits the issue.

In other business Monday, the council voted 3-2 to make a purchase offer on the historic Jeffries Home after hearing from building official Bill Burgess that it will cost roughly $42,000 to bring the 1910 home up to code and make improvements. The council has been discussing a possible purchase since June and last month agreed to offer $111,000 for the bank-owned property. Wilkeson and Proctor voted against the purchase.

The council voted unanimously to accept a guaranteed maximum price of $2.49 million for the new library. Officials expect construction to take the remainder of the year and the new facility to open by January.

Zephryhills city manager runs into City Council 'bombshell' 03/11/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 7:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday


    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy


    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)


    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102