Monday, June 24, 2013

Wednesday Workshop Meeting Agenda... Finally

After some prodding from at least one Sun reader and with less than 48 hours until the meeting begins, City Hall has finally posted the workshop meeting agenda. Obviously, this was posted with far less notice than the seven day minimum referenced by the Florida Attorney General.

The posted agenda provides no details regarding the content of the upcoming meeting, with exception of the City Attorney's report. The City Attorney, Frank Kruppenbacher, will be discussing three issues: the Belle Isle interlocal fire agreement, a surplus building at 5920 Randolph, and our City Manager contract.

The City Manager contract is a huge issue in our City, with many residents questioning his eligibility, qualifications, review standard, and potential salary. At the upcoming workshop meeting, the City Attorney will be addressing these questions.

According to statements he made to me after the last workshop meeting on May 29, Mr. Kruppenbacher will initially be addressing the question of whether our present City Manager, Keith Severns, is even eligible to hold the position.

As previously noted by Commissioner Harvey Readey, Keith Severns is not even eligible to hold the city manager position under the Belle Isle City Charter because of his prior term as a City Council member. More specifically, Section 4.07 of the City Charter states that "a person who has served as a commissioner or mayor of the city shall be ineligible for appointment to the office of city manager for two years following the end of the term of office."

Although Mr. Severns resigned as City Commissioner over two years ago, his "term of office" just ended in March 2013. This is because the City Charter distinguishes between an official's term of office and his or her actual dates of service. For example, Section 4.02 regarding the Mayor states that the Mayor "shall be elected for a term of three (3) years and shall serve until a successor takes office" - clearly distinguishing between an official's elected term and the length of time actually served in the position. Since Mr. Severns' "term of office" as City Commissioner did not end until three years from the date he was elected in March 2010, he would not eligible to serve as our City Manager until two years later in March 2015.

Mr. Kruppenbacher will also be discussing compensation terms for our City Manager along with a standard for evaluating his job performance. Many residents noted that the prior compensation proposed by City Hall for Keith Severns seemed far out of line with his minimal education and job training. For example, Mr. Severns does not even possess a college degree, even though nearly every other City Manager in Florida has earned at least a Bachelor's degree. You can verify this for yourself, and also find the salaries of other city managers in Florida, with this spreadsheet provided by Representative Pete Clark's office:

Florida City Manager Qualifications and Pay

You can also find the entire workshop meeting agenda here:

June 26, 2013 Council Workshop Meeting Agenda

Upset by the last minute agendas and cancelled meeting? Want to know what else might be discussed at this meeting that hasn't been included on the agenda? Want to help make a real impact on the way our City government operates? Please come to the meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, June 26 at 8:30 a.m. I hope to see you there!


  1. Felt like I was eavesdropping on a closed meeting.
    No discussion of Keith Severns qualifications or salary.
    He was praised for doing the job of manager, P & Z and General Services...on call 24/7.
    I believe that is what is expected of a city manager of a city the size of Belle Isle.

  2. An updated meeting agenda was posted on city website late Tuesday (after city hall closed). This included the May 29th workshop minutes and the proposed city manager contract. We obviously all need to be even more vigilant in checking the city website in order to assist the Sun to keep us up to date. Needless to say, those of us attending the meeting on Wednesday were at a loss and could not comment as a fully informed citizen nor follow along as these were discussed and amended.


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