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Council approves King contract

By Staff | Jul 19, 2010

Gary King is now officially Cape Coral’s new city manager, as council voted 5-3 to accept the terms of the contract negotiated by King and Councilmember Bill Deile.
King did agree to reduce the amount of his base salary from $140,000 to $132,500, a move he felt better represented the salary amount of $120,000 that was suggested by Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz during city manager interviews over a month ago.
King said he also felt the need to reduce his salary based on “public chatter” regarding his contract, while keeping the $120,000 figure in view.
“I wanted to be sensitive to that,” King said. “I wanted to meet somewhere in the middle.”
The remaining highlights of the contract remain the same.
King is set to receive $950 per month in lieu of group health insurance, $450 a month in vehicle allowance and use of a city provided Blackberry.
King also would receive six months severance pay in a lump sum if he’s terminated without cause with $950 a month in lieu of group health insurance also paid to King for the same time frame unless he becomes otherwise employed.
The most controversial aspect of the contract, $20,000 of 11 potential performance-based incentives, also remains intact.
As proposed, first year performance-based incentives would include, but would not be limited to:
n Deliver a balanced budget for FY 2010 – 2011 that maintains the 2009-10 millage rate while reducing the proposed budget’s use of reserves to support operations by $250,000.
n Implement a fleet management program, with the objective to reduce expenses by 16 percent.
n Reduce the city’s net annual FY 2010-11 contribution requirement for other post employment benefits (OPEB) by $1,500,000, measured on a full year effect basis.
Councilmember Derrick Donnell did not support the $950 a month in lieu of health benefits nor the bonus-based incentives for he first year of the two-year contract. Donnell said it would be prudent to readdress those items next fiscal year.
Councilmember Bill Deile said the incentive-based bonuses were crucial to achieving goals that have not been attainable in previous years.
“These objectives are quantifiable … the savings that can be achieved far outweigh the incentives. We’ve never been able to achieve these things in the past,” Deile said.
Chulakes-Leetz, who does not support any government employee making a six figure salary, agreed the potential cost savings in King’s contract was worth the overall price.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail did not support the six-month severance pay, nor the vehicle allowance.
McGrail said King’s compensation seemed fair overall, but the severance package could potentially mirror the controversy surrounding former city manager Terry Stewart’s severance pay when he quit the position last year.
“It perpetuates the problem that reared his head when Terry Stewart was asked to leave … (the severance) should not be more than three months, and more than likely two months or one month,” McGrail said.
Councilmember Marty McClain did not support any aspect of the contract.
King’s lack of a traditional city manager background prevented McClain from justifying his support, he said.
“He might save us millions, but we don’t know,” McClain said.
Addressing the lack of public criticism that no economic development incentive exists in the contract, Councilmember Pete Brandt said it was a “moot point” because “there isn’t any going on in the country.”
Overall Brandt did support the contract, and said that incentives should be expected of all city employees.
“It’s not a trivial thing that’s been put together, it’s been well thought out, well thought through,” Brandt said.
The contract was approved 5-3, with McGrail, McClain and Donnell dissenting.
After a short council recess, King took over as city manager.