ST. PETE BEACH — City Manager Alex Rey received unbridled praise, along with a 5% salary increase and $500 a month housing stipend, when commissioners voted unanimously to extended his employment contract another two years.
“I’m amazed, Alex has been here two years already; time sure flies,” Mayor Al Johnson told fellow commissioners during the March 23 meeting.
Rey told commissioners, “In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday that I started. But in other ways it also feels like a lifetime; It feels very comfortable here, with the community, with the staff. It’s kind of that dual feeling that time really just flew, but it’s also a very comfortable feeling.”
“I’ve asked to extend my contract to 2024, which basically adds two years to the back end of my contract which expires next year; at that point I will be 65,” Rey explained. “I told the mayor I’ll have some time between now and then to think about how much more want to work after 65; he’s a little older than me, so he understands the dilemma you go through when you get to that stage. This gives us three years to continue in the route we’re going. I think we are going in the right direction.”
Rey said with everything the city has gone through in the last 12 months “a lot of organizations were barely able to tread water and maintain status quo. I think we have moved significantly on many of the projects the city has been pursuing. “
Johnson told Rey, “Looking at the list of the things we’ve accomplished as a city, with your leadership in the last year, I was amazed at three and four pages of stuff. There are mayors I talk to that if they got one page of things on their list, that’s it. The biggest example of the fact that we didn’t miss a beat was getting the library relocated and operational, renovating the old one and moving back in, all during COVID pandemic; that to me is incredible.”
He said the rapport Rey has with residents, businesses and the city commission “is priceless.”
Commissioner Ward Friszolowski said he is “very, very, happy with the way things are going.”
Commissioner Melinda Pletcher said in comparing city managers over the years, “I will tell you what a pleasure it is to serve on this commission when you have as responsive of a city administration as we have. This is so unique.”
She recommended the city offer the $500 monthly housing allowance “to reward his willingness to stay a part of our community.”
Commissioners voted unanimously to raise the city manager’s salary 5% to $199,500 with a $500 a month housing allowance as long as he resides in the city.
After the vote Pletcher quipped to Rey, “You have to stay humble now, since you have all of us bragging on you.”
Rey said, “I didn’t want to tell you this before you voted on the salary, but I really like what I do, so thank you very much.”