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Council gives city manager pay bump effective May 2020

By Staff | Nov 19, 2019

Cape Coral City Manager John Szerlag, who will retire at the end of November 2020, will receive a 15.6 percent bump in his base salary for the last six months of his time with the city.

Mayor Joe Coviello and Szerlag negotiated the new contract to take effect immediately and last through Nov. 30, 2020. Council approval was unanimous.

The terms include an increase in base salary to an hourly rate of $83.19 to $96.16, effective the last six months of the contract, May 30 through Nov. 30, 2020. The increase will pay Szerlag $100,000 for the final six months of the contract.

Until then, the base salary will remain at the current level.

The current agreement provides 20 weeks of severance pay in the event of termination without cause. The amendment provides that, beginning June 1, 2020 for the last six months of the term of the agreement, the amount of severance is either the 20 weeks of base salary, or the remaining balance of the base salary to be paid through Nov. 30, of next year, whichever is less.

Everyone on Council agreed the new agreement as fair, since Szerlag’s pay is said to be among the lowest for cites of comparable size. Only Councilmember Rick Williams objected, saying the city should pay Szerlag more.

In other business

* Councilmember Jessica Cosden was elected mayor pro tem by her fellow council members for next year, succeeding Councilmember John Carioscia. Cosden, who acted as Council’s office manager this past year, also will continue in that role for next year.

The action came as part of the annual housekeeping the elected board does to update and appoint members of Council to boards and committees. Council also approved the 2020 meeting schedule and organizational membership dues.

* City council started to sell off some of the surplus property it acquired in a 2012 $13.5 million, multi-parcel land buy which included the Seven Islands.

The city sold nine lots to three different buyers for a total of $278,500. That money will go back to the city’s stormwater management fund, which is where the money for that then-controversial deal came from.

Coviello said he was happy the city was selling the land and repaying what the city owed.

* Council recognized Lora Guglielmini, Fire Plans examiner, for being chosen to represent the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association (FFMIA) as Fire Inspector of the Year for 2019.

The award was presented to Guglielmini on Nov. 4 at the annual Florida Fire Prevention Conference.

* Council voted unanimously to reappoint Stacey Lomonaco and Linda Biondi to their chair and vice-chair positions on the Community Redevelopment Agency board.