LIVE OAK, Fla. — A month after the Live Oak City Council approved a raise for City Manager Ron Williams, that increase was scrutinized at the council’s Nov. 13 meeting.
In October, the council approved a cost-of-living adjustment for Williams of 1 percent as all the other city employees had been given in the new budget year. As well, the council approved a 1.5 percent merit increase, which employees were also given based on an evaluation process.
Councilman Mark Stewart questioned how the merit increase was determined since the council had never performed an evaluation of Williams. Per Williams’ contract with the city from when he was hired in April 2016, an evaluation is supposed to completed annually.
City Attorney Fred Koberlein agreed that the contract states an evaluation is supposed to be completed every April.
The council has never completed an evaluation of Williams.
“What basis is that? What is the basis for determining whether he gets a raise or not?” Stewart asked, adding if the employees are evaluated in order to earn a raise, Williams should follow that protocol as well.
“I don’t understand why in the contract we can give Mr. Williams a merit increase without even doing an evaluation.”
Koberlein responded: “I can’t comment on why three or more people vote on something, generally speaking.”
Councilman David Burch said he had no problem with the council conducting an evaluation, especially if the contract calls for that.
Koberlein told the council that it can decide to increase Williams’ pay without an evaluation, which it did when it passed the rate increase for all employees, while also choosing to offer raises based on an evaluation. He did note that it should be conducting an evaluation every April, even if it doesn’t provide an increase.
Concerned resident Dick Calvitt echoed Stewart’s concern.
“The merit-based raise is based upon an agreed upon evaluation after goals are set,” Calvitt said. “The evaluation hasn’t been agreed upon, it hasn’t been reviewed, goals haven’t been set. He’s done a great job but it needs to be documented per the contract.
“That hasn’t been done yet.”
Stewart also asked if Williams had a recommendation for the council concerning the BUILD Grant that Suwannee Valley Transit Authority Executive Director Larry Sessions discussed with the council in October.
After a brief discussion on whether that recommendation was already made at last month’s meeting, Williams said he did not recommend the city helping pay for the grant application.
“We’re not recommending it,” Williams said. “My recommendation is that this is not a city function. The city was not involved in this process at all. We don’t feel like we any need to be involved at this point.”
Live Oak CRA Day
With the Live Oak Community Redevelopment Authority earning a state award at the recent FRA conference, Mayor Frank Davis issued a proclamation declaring Oct. 27, 2018, Live Oak CRA Day.
The CRA earned the President’s Award at the statewide October meeting for its Heritage Square master plan.
Closing Tedder Ave.
During the meeting, the council and Williams also discussed closing a portion of Tedder Ave. According to councilman Don Allen, half of the two-block road cuts through the property of Bill Granville, who requested the closing of the street.
“We would just like to unify the lot,” Granville said, adding they would be willing to give city workers access to the property for the storm drain that does exist on the unpaved road.
Williams told the council the city staff supports the proposal and it would be brought back in December for a public hearing.
“We think it’s a positive step,” Williams said.