LARGO — The City Commission unanimously on March 17 approved a 3% salary increase for City Manager Henry Schubert that will increase his annual salary to $208,296 for fiscal year 2020.
Schubert’s raise takes effect as of April 1.
On a grading scale of 1 to 3, with 3 representing the highest score, Schubert received a 2.82 overall score based on evaluations of the six commission members and mayor.
A score of 3.0 represents “exceeds expectations;” a 2.0 score means “meets expectations” and a 1.0 score represents “needs improvement.”
Schubert’s performance evaluation was based on commissioner scoring in nine categories.
The city manager’s otherwise positive evaluation was slightly weakened when commissioners posted a scoring disparity on question No. 6 titled “Maintain a quality workforce in a positive supportive organization.”
Schubert’s annual work evaluation comes roughly nine months after Largo’s anonymous survey of city employees to see how they felt the administration was performing.
Based on the estimated 70% of Largo’s 900-plus city employees who completed the evaluation, the city administration received mixed grades in some categories.
Under the category “City Hall feels welcoming,” survey respondents on a whole awarded the city administration a C+.
Under the category “access to tools,” respondents awarded a “C+; under “access to training and development,” a B-; and under “processes that support work:” a D-.
One written conclusion culled from Largo’s administration performance survey: to make workers feel more appreciated, increase our pay.
In response last October, the City Commission ratified a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Communications Workers of America Local 3179 that gave nearly 400 general employees a pay raise each of the next three years.
In the first year of contract, effective Oct. 1 last year, employees received a 3% annual wage increase. In the second and third years, workers will get a 4% hike, culminating in a $14.09 an hour minimum wage in fiscal year 2022.
On question No. 6 of Schubert’s evaluation, Mayor Woody Brown and Commissioner John Carroll awarded him a 3.0 score.
In his written comment for the question, Brown credited Schubert for being “willing to change long standing procedures to improve city operations.”
However, the mayor also cited critical public comments received by City Hall this year.
“There are a couple of specific issues that residents and business owners continue to bring my attention despite our efforts to improve,” Brown wrote. “As we work toward being the community of choice, those issues need to be addressed in an effective manner.”
Carroll amplified his 3.0 score for question the by indirectly crediting Schubert for what he sees as success in the city’s “High Performance Organization” initiative.
“This is an emerging and exciting area of accomplishment,” wrote Carroll. “As previously mentioned, HPO has been a huge success so far. Employee groups have embraced the concept and trust has been strengthened and rewarded by many successful initiatives implemented through teamwork at all levels of the city organization.”
In contrast, four commission members — Michael Smith, Jamie Robinson, Samantha Fenger and Donna Holck — awarded Schubert a 2.0 “meets expectations,” each offering narrative comment to amplify their score.
Fenger wrote that Schubert “meets all expectations,” but offered two caveats.
“I think (city) departments are interested in seeing more of City Manager Schubert and the assistant city manager,” Fenger said. “We often hear that attracting and retaining (a) quality workforce is an issue across all departments – do we need to re-evaluate (that)?”
In his narrative, Smith said he was happy with the city’s labor management.
“However, I would like to hear more about keeping the unions updated on what is going on in the city as a whole,” Smith said.
Smith also wrote that the city manager’s office should “ask union leaders what they need more data on” and for the city manager to “have face time” with union representatives every three months.
Holck wrote Schubert’s score “is based on (last year’s) employee survey.”
Commissioner Curtis Holmes didn’t assign a score to question 6, claiming that commission members were, according to the City Charter, technically ineligible to do so, since they do not personally engage with city employee-staff.
“No member on this dais can honestly answer this question,” wrote Holmes in responding to the question.
Citing section 2.07 (a) and (b) of the Largo City Charter, Holmes wrote that the charter “forbids elected members on the dais from engaging with staff, plus without having daily relationships with staff.”
However, Brown and Carroll disagreed with Holmes' assessment, claiming commission members are qualified to do so.
“It is possible to have an opinion on whether or not there is a positive relationship (between the city manager) and the workforce — whether there is a positive/supportive organization within the workforce,” Brown said.