LARGO -- Evaluations by the mayor and commissioners of the performance of City Manager Steve Stanton give him, on the average, a good-plus mark.
There was a wide range of marks in the evaluations. Commissioners Gay Gentry, Pat Gerard and Pat Burke bestowed the highest marks on Stanton.
Significantly, all three meet with Stanton on a weekly basis, and very often "hobby horses" of a couple these commissioners are regularly pushed on commission agendas.
The lowest marks for Stanton came from Commissioner Charlie Harper. In eight categories of performance plus an overall mark, Harper gave no excellents, one good, six satisfactories and one needs improvement.
No commissioner gave Stanton an unsatisfactory rating in any of the categories.
Mayor Bob Jackson, who awarded three excellents and six goods, and who meets with Stanton more than any other commission member, hit on a key subject in two of his comments.
That is that the manager share with other commission members in writing what was discussed in private conferences with commission members.
In the "Leadership/Direction" category, Jackson wroted, "He needs to share, in writing, issues discussed in private conferences with elected officials. We are not sure of topics discussed."
In the "Integrity/Fairness" category, Jackson wrote: "Because no report is given on private conferences, decisions and different points of view are not always understood."
The idea that subject matter discussed between Stanton and individual commissioners be memoed and distributed to all commission members has been strongly urged by the Clearwater Gazette & Beach Views.
Because no decision could be made as a result of such conferences, a simple two or three paragraph memo listing subjects discussed would be sufficient.
Such a procedure would fully comport with the spirit of the Sunshine Law, keep all hands apprised of what should be common interests and avoid hidden and personal agendas, which work, ineluctably, to the detriment of the manager.
Commissioner Gay Gentry gave Stanton excellent in eight categories and good in one, while Gerard and Burke awarded six excellents and three goods. Commissioner Jean Halvorsen had one excellent for Stanton, seven goods and one satisfactory.
Commissioner Harriet Crozier rated Stanton good in three categories and satisfactory in six.
Of the seven evaluations, Harper's comments were the most extensive -- thoughtful, thoroughgoing and constructively critical. Crozier had no comments, Halvorsen only two and Burke one. Gentry also gave extensive comments, mostly laudatory.
Stanton has been city manager of Largo for about 14 years, a term much longer than what the average manager serves in a given position, and has been instrumental in much of the recent progress of the city.
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