HIGH SPRINGS – In a special City Commission meeting held on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, Commissioners unanimously approved a contract with City Manager candidate Edwin Booth to join the City staff on Monday, Dec. 15, 2012. The contract period ends Dec. 31, 2013.

Booth was present at the meeting and discussed his contract directly with City commissioners following an explanation of the proposed employment agreement by attorney Kathryn Tancig of Folds & Walker, the firm representing the City.

Under consideration was a contract for $65,000 for salary plus $1,500 for moving expenses and various other minor alterations to the original contract negotiated by the City attorney’s office. Concern as to how those amounts mesh with the City’s present budget were discussed and Finance Director Helen McIver noted that although approximately $4,000 would be freed up because Booth did not need some of the benefits usually offered to City employees, a shortfall of $13,500 still existed. McIver also said the City’s attorney position was not funded completely for the year.

Noting the next item on the agenda was the second hearing of Ordinance 2012-16, a budget adjustment that would free up funds from last year to possibly go into the Contingency Fund, McIver explained the Commission could use some of that money to fund the salaries of both positions. However, she cautioned that the Commission would have to budget those items in the next fiscal year’s budget to continue to fund the positions. McIver also suggested that at about six months into the budget year, the City could look at their budget again to determine if funds were not being spent and possibly either use those funds for these positions or transfer money from the Contingency Fund at that time.

Booth addressed the Commission and indicated he felt the city manager and commissioners had a “unique relationship” of trust and communication. Stressing his open door policy for cmmissioners and citizens alike, he said he was not the type of city manager who sat in his office all the time. “I like to get out and get a sense of what’s going on with our projects, what the citizens think and report back to the commission.” He also said he felt commissioners could not make good decisions without understanding all aspects of a situation and believed that it was his responsibility to make sure commissioners were informed.

Mayor Sue Weller commented afterwards, “I think we’re very fortunate to have such a qualified person in this position. I think the City needs an individual like Mr. Booth. I think only good things are going to come from this.”

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