To the editor:
Best practices is a term that is used by the private sector (business) and the public sector (government) that describes and explains how those respective sectors perform their prescribed functions in a highly professional and proficient manner that is a generally accepted, like conducting Annual Employee Performance Evaluations. It concerns me after reading a recent story in the press titled “No Evaluations, but Lee County Manager, Attorney given 10k raises” by our Lee County Commissioners.”
County Manager Roger Desjarlais and County Attorney Richard Wesch are the two highest paid county employees. They will be paid $227,052.28 annually. They also will benefit from their salary raises; by receiving retroactive pay. The Lee County Commission in the past has consistently performed annual public performance evaluations of their county manager and county attorney.
Maybe Lee County Commissioners are adopting the practice of not conducting annual public performance evaluations from one municipality in Southwest Florida. According to the city’s public records, the City of Sanibel, has not since the spring of 2007, conducted a public and or produced a formal documented Annual Performance Evaluation of their City Attorney Kenneth B. Cuyler and City Manager Judy Zimomra. They are the city’s two highest paid employees. Both earn well over $210,000 annually in salary and benefits. According to the city manager’s contract, the city manager is to receive from the mayor and City Council a public and documented annual performance evaluation.
The city manager after signing her initial contract over 15 years ago, in 2002, has received only one public and documented Annual Performance Evaluation from the city’s mayor and City Council over 10 years ago. The city attorney who also signed his initial contract in 2002, with the City of Sanibel, has also received only one documented Annual Performance Evaluation by the city’s mayor and City Council who performed it over 10 years ago.
Best Practices in Government requires through their published personnel rules and regulations and or by its city and or county charter, contracts, if applicable, that their employees will receive a time certain documented performance evaluations i.e. Annual Performance Evaluations. The accepted and standard best practice of Florida’s 67 County Governments and its 411 plus municipalities; is that supervisors of non-probationary employees are expected and required to conduct a documented Annual Performance Evaluation on their respective employees’ anniversary hire date.
The reality is that Annual Performance Evaluations of Government Personnel is the foremost measure that is used by government officials like elected officials to gauge and measure how efficient, effective and ethical their appointed officials i.e. city and county managers have performed their position’s duties and responsibilities.
So where does the trail for accountability and responsibility lead regarding the described errant action by our elected officials. Their errant action appears to be unfair, disparate and discriminatory in nature to all their other employees who are subject to receiving documented yearly performance evaluations by their immediate supervisors, department heads or by their city attorney and or city manager.
Taxpayers are being short changed by having to pay for the exorbitant salaries and benefits given by our elected officials to city attorneys or city managers for work that has not been annually assessed and documented to justify their salary and benefits.
The Lee County Commissioners and the City of Sanibel’s mayor and its City Council’s failure to conduct public and or documented Annual Performance Evaluations of their two highest paid appointed officials does not demonstrate best practices, it undermines the public’s confidence in government and it certainly is not in the best interest of the taxpayers and it should be corrected.
Steven R. Maxwell, Ed.D.