LARGO -- Largo's city manager, Steve Stanton, is putting a high priority on the protection of Alan Zimmet, the part time city attorney who is paid about $2,000 a week, according to Stanton's own words in his May 26 report.
Discussion of Zimmet's contract with the city started when Commissioner Mary Black pointed out that by the terms of the contract Zimmet was supposed to be reviewed in May.
Stanton attempted to brush that off, at a meeting a couple of weeks ago, with the comment that "we review him in August."
Black persisted in her insistent voice -- "But the agreement says he is to be reviewed in May."
The ignoring of strictures in agreements and ignoring basic law in Largo is not unusual. It has become known as the city that is not governed by law, but by whimsy.
That opened the door to a review and to make sure that Zimmet is not abandoned Stanton observed in his May 26 report that he would be on vacation and not present at the June 7 meeting.
He asked that the commission continue any discussion of the Zimmet matter be continued until June 21.
"If this is not acceptable to any member of the City Commission, please contact my office prior to June 1 and the admiministration will leave this item on the agenda for discussion at the Tuesday, June 7, meeting and I will make arrangements . . . to fly back to the city so that I can participate in the discussion . . .," Stanton wrote.
At the commission meeting May 24 the idea of having a full-time city attorney was advanced. During that brief discussion it turned out that neither Stanton nor Zimmet, who is on the payroll of several tax supported entities as a part time employee, knew what Zimmet is paid.
He is paid more than $103,000 annually by Largo and is slated for a 3 percent raise recommended by Stanton in revising the calendared renewal of his contract from August to May. Many Largo taxpayers think that pay in excess of $2,000 a week for part time employment is pretty hefty.
Zimmet has deals with Safety Harbor and the Pinellas Suncoast Transportation Authority (and perhaps others) for part time work.
In the case of Largo, Zimmet funnels other legal work that he is not directly paid for in his $103,000 agreement with Largo to his law firm which some see as self dealing and self enrichment.
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