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Council could consider manager contract Monday

By Staff | Mar 31, 2012

Cape Coral City Councilmember Rana Erbrick and city manager candidate John Szerlag have agreed on the proposed terms of his contract and council should have a draft agreement for its consideration Monday.

“Mr. Szerlag and I sort of reached numbers that I felt comfortable to take to council just last night,” Erbrick, who was tapped as council’s negotiator, said late Friday. “What council does with those numbers once I bring it to them is anyone’s guess.”

Negotiations began Tuesday, the day after council named Szerlag, the current city manager for Troy, Mich., as the Cape’s first choice for its open position.

There is nothing in writing at this point, Erbrick said, adding she has spoken with the city’s legal department and hopes to have a draft ready for council consideration early Monday.

“I was hoping to get that today but the wheels turn a little slow,” she said.

As the proposed contract points had not yet been drafted and confirmed, they were not available at press time. Everything thus far has been verbal, Erbrick said.

However if council agrees to either the working contract terms or approves a different agreement that also is acceptable to Szerlag, he could be available as soon as mid May, Erbrick said, adding she believes this timetable would work for the city’s budget process.

Once an agreement is reached, Szerlag has said he would “consider himself on the payroll without being on the payroll” and would request to be kept current with documents and updates, according to Erbrick.

“I think we will be fine,” she said. “I know I am very comfortable with that and would expect that.”

The final contract terms are, however, up to council, Erbrick emphasized.

“At this point, council needs to take ownership of it,” she said.

The city conducted its search for a new top administrator through Colin Baenziger & Associates, which submitted five finalists and an alternate for council consideration.

After three votes and much discussion Monday, the board chose Szerlag 7-1 as its top choice.

Mark Needham, who currently is employed as a special assistant to the governor of Kentucky, was named council’s next choice. Should negotiations with Szerlag fall through, talks with Needham would be the city’s next step, provided he still is interested.