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Sarasota Monday, Jan. 4, 2010 8 years ago

TOP STORY, DEC.: Commissioners vary on city manager review

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Throughout the holiday week, will be counting down the top 12 stories of 2009 (one from each month) from our Longboat, East County and Sarasota Observers. Check back each day fro a reprinting — and any relevant updates — of the biggest news items of the year.


As two annual job-performance reviews were discussed at the City Commission this week, Commissioner Suzanne Atwell reiterated her displeasure with the system.

“It’s flawed and … clumsy,” she said.

The commission was going over its evaluations of City Manager Bob Bartolotta and City Attorney Robert Fournier. The reviews use a numeric system that gives three grading options, which are assigned scores:

•Exceeds expectations: Three points
•Meets expectations: Two points
•Below expectations: One point

Atwell said the system relies too much on the scoring system instead of interviews of employees. She also doesn’t like the fact that the process is played out on live television, which is something she calls “unprofessional and embarrassing to the city,” because Bartolotta, in particular, is unable to respond.

Last month, she proposed hiring a consultant to conduct the reviews, but her four fellow commissioners said they were satisfied with the current system.

This week, Atwell said she hopes to persuade them to change their minds before next year’s evaluations.
As far as this year’s review, commissioners’ opinions on the city manager’s performance are dramatically different.

For instance, Commissioner Fredd Atkins felt Bartolotta didn’t exceed expectations in any of the 19 skills and tasks that are graded. Vice Mayor Kelly Kirschner only gave one “exceeds expectations” grade.

But Mayor Dick Clapp, on the other hand, believed the city manager exceeded expectations in 14 of the 19 categories.

Kirschner gave 10 “below expectations” scores, while Clapp gave none.

Making the grade

The five city commissioners graded City Manager Bob Bartolotta on 19 different tasks and skills, ranging from promoting economic development to demonstrating leadership. See details below on how many areas exceeded, met or were below the commissioners’ expectations.

Fredd Atkins
Exceeds    0
Meets    17   
Below    2

Highlights: Atkins, who represents Newtown, believes Bartolotta has met expectations on Newtown redevelopment. He marked “below expectations” on economic development and using a team approach to management.

Suzanne Atwell
Exceeds    3   
Meets    11   
Below    5

Highlights: Atwell’s three highest scores came in the area of budget management. She praised Bartolotta’s fiscal responsibility. The five lowest scores all pertained to leadership, communication and customer service.

Dick Clapp
Exceeds    14   
Meets    5   
Below    0

Highlights: Clapp’s evaluation was the highest of the five. In contrast to the other four commissioners, he said Bartolotta exceeded expectations in the areas of leadership, communication and customer service.

Kelly Kirschner
Exceeds    1   
Meets    8   
Below    10

Highlights: Kirschner provided the harshest evaluation, giving only one “exceeds expectations” score, which was for managing the city’s property. He gave Bartolotta as many “below expectations” as the other four combined.

Terry Turner

Exceeds    4
Meets    12   
Below    3

Turner’s top marks were for fiscal responsibility, Newtown redevelopment and knowledge of the city’s inner workings. Failing grades were given for leadership, communication and team approach to management.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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