City Commission agrees to give city manager a bonus

City manager Jennifer Bramley will get a 1 percent salary bonus in recognition for her work on the acquisition of the Gladys Douglas Preserve.

DUNEDIN — Jennifer Bramley will get a 1 percent salary bonus in recognition for her work on the acquisition of the Gladys Douglas Preserve.

Commissioners Oct. 7 voted 4-1, with Commissioner John Tornga dissenting, to give her the $1,861 bonus through a city award program.

That is in addition to her 3 percent raise for the next fiscal year that city commissioners agreed upon last month.

In making the motion to approve the bonus, Commissioner Deborah Kynes called Bramley's work "Herculean" in city and county efforts to acquire the preserve, which is located off Keene Road. It will eventually be used as a park.

Commissioner Moe Freaney said the property acquisition was "huge" and fits the requirements for the city's Bright Spark Award.

"If that doesn't resonate to this, nothing does," Freaney said. "Even the state was amazed.”

City memos say the Bright Spark Award is tied to a discrete action rather than awarded for a situation of consistently outstanding performance.

Tornga said he does not like the awards program, adding that he feels like "it affects the collaborative culture of the organization" and thinks city officials could develop something better than that program.

"If I'm a president of the company and I have a program (for bonuses), I’m not in the program,” he said. "I wouldn't even think about being in a program."

Though he voted for the bonus, Gow said as a whole he doesn't like bonuses.

He said he thinks it's a way for corporations to cheapen salaries.

"So they are more willing to give bonuses so that the bonuses are incorporated into any future salary increases," Gow said.

Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski said she thought the awards program would be the most transparent way to give Bramley the bonus.

"I wasn't trying to reinvent the wheel," she said

Despite their differences on the bonus pay, most commissioners gave her high praise in her annual evaluation, such as for keeping a number of projects moving forward during a difficult time as a result of the pandemic.

Bramley was also lauded for her integrity and her ability to hire excellent employees. She was also called a talented problem solver.

Bramley was hired in 2017. The 3 percent raise that commissioners approved for her last month brings her salary to just under $192,000.