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Council approves $236,000 contract for new city manager

By Staff | Jun 16, 2020

The city of Cape Coral has reached a contract agreement with its incoming city manager.

Rob Hernandez, who previously served as deputy manager in Fort Lauderdale, will be paid an annual salary of $236,000 with yearly evaluations of his performance.

Benefits will include receive four weeks of annual leave, a monthly allowance of $650 for work-related use of his personal vehicle and a housing allowance of $1,000 per month for 18 months or until he sells his Coral Springs home. Hernandez also will receive a relocation allowance of $7,500 to be paid in three installments: $2,500 upon execution of the contract; $2,500 on his first day of employment; and $2,500 upon completion of his relocation. The city will pay professional dues, subscriptions and continued education, along with all expenses pertaining to travel to conferences, conventions, etc., the elected board agreed Monday at a special voting meeting.

City Manager John Szerlag will now retire on Aug. 12 but will be paid through Nov. 30, the last day of his current contract, Council also decided Monday.

The city will pay Szerlag a lump sum for salary owed as a result his agreeing to exit prior his contracted end date. Szerlag also will receive $500 per month for each full month remaining on his contract for the cost of health, dental and vision insurance, not to exceed $1,500. as well as up to $2,800 with proof that he remained entered the city’s pension plan.

Szerlag’s final day on the job will be Aug. 11 before his retirement to facilitate a smooth transition, as neither Szerlag nor Hernandez wanted overlap.

Hernandez will begin Aug. 12 and the employment agreement will be for three years. The agreement will be automatically renewed for successive one-year terms unless either party gives notice of nonrenewal at least six months prior to the expiration of the current term.

Hernandez will begin at an annual salary of $236,000; Council will evaluate his performance and consider an increase to his pay each subsequent year.

Last October, the city renegotiated Szerlag’s contract, extending it from May through November. Council agreed to pay him $100,000 for that additional and final six months. Szerlag has served as the city of Cape Coral’s top administrator, responsible for all day-to-day operations, since 2012. His compensation prior to the negotiated contract extension was $173,035 per year.

In other business:

n Council also received recommendations from the City Transportation Advisory Commission on Capital Improvement Plan Recommendations.

CTAC recommended staff proceed with projects budgeted through the general fund, but hold on the majority of projects budgeted through FEMA and Gas Tax funds.

The city will proceed with spot paving ($400,000) and Cape Coral Parkway/Santa Barbara intersection improvements ($200,000), but $2 million in local road paving will be paused pending future gas tax revenues.

Alley paving will proceed with $400,000 in design work. For media landscaping, Bernice Braden Park improvements ($100,000) and Chiquita and Rose Garden median improvements ($50K) will proceed.

The city will proceed with $50,000 in additional streetlights, with another $200,000 on hold pending future gas tax revenues.

For sidewalks, the two existing crews are funded through grants of $1.5 million per year. A third crew costing $750,000 is on hold pending future gas tax revenue. There is $1 million in FEMA funding available to support in-house construction.