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CRA executive director receives raise, plus bonus

By Staff | Oct 21, 2009

The Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency executive director will see a slight bump in his paycheck following an annual performance review that drew mostly rave reviews from board members.
The board approved at Tuesday’s meeting a 3 percent cost of living increase and a 4 percent performance bonus for John Jacobsen, whose annual salary is $107,500.
The cost of living increase was already factored into Jacobsen’s three-year contract, of which he has served a year.
The CRA board simultaneously praised Jacobsen while keeping the economic downturn squarely in focus. Most were worried that a significant bonus or pay raise would make him a target for criticism, as the economy is still reeling.
“I don’t want to put a bull’s-eye on John’s back,” said board member Robert Greco. “It’s tough times and everybody is making cuts. Whether the market is great or not, the 3 (percent) is generous.”
The first year of Jacobsen’s contract was viewed, in part, as a trial run for someone who had no previous experience as the head of a community redevelopment agency.
Board member Scott Hertz said gauging Jacobsen’s bonus on the economy was unfair. He said the board should focus on Jacobsen’s performance over the last year and the increased level of responsibility he will undertake in the years to come.
Hertz cited the CRA’s expansion as an example.
“I believe we hired Mr. Jacobsen at the low end of the scale to give him a chance to prove himself and I think he’s done that,” he said. “I’m more thrilled than I’ve ever been with our executive director.”
While no survey was conducted to determine what directors from other similar size agencies are paid, the general feeling was that Jacobsen has performed well during the first year of his contract, but there is room for improvement.
“John is a work in progress,” vice chairman Don Heisler said. “He’s doing a wonderful job, but we all still have a lot to learn.”