Sunday, May 17, 2015

SWEETHEART CONTRACT? -- City Manager JOHN REGAN Contract "Automatic" Renewal: Contract Violation of Public Policy?

City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. Presents Plaque to Retiring City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN, who rubber-stamped sweetheart contract

Five years ago this month, on May 24, 2010, City Commissioners JOE BOLES, LEANNA FREEMAN, ERROL JONES, NANCY SIKES-KLINE and DONALD CRICHLOW unanimously voted a five year contract, renewed automatically without notice one year in advance, with City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. The contract took effect on July 1, 2010, and was automatically renewed because no one voted otherwise last year. There was no reminder
last year and no vote to allow the automatic renewal.
Automatic renewals require advance notice in Florida consumer contracts.
Other Florida Managers call Commissioners' attention to automatic renewals, allowing them to decide, as in Ormond Beach.
This may be a contract violation of public policy, as it deprived this year's City Commission of a meaningful opportunity to review his conduct (and all his works and pomps).
Was REGAN's automatic contract renewal a contract violation of public policy and a breach of legal ethics by City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN and perhaps even two lawyer-Commissioners (then-Mayor JOSEPH BOLES and Commissioner LEANNA FREEMAN), as it deprived this year's City Commission of a meaningful opportunity to review his conduct?
City Commission minutes for May 23, 2010 reflect:
9.A/ Discussion of Employment Agreement relevant to incoming City Manager.
Mr. Brown advised that a copy of the contract had been provided with the agenda and made available to the public. He detailed the agreement terms as follows:
Five year initial term and renewed automatically unless 12 month advance written notice was provided by the City or Mr. Regan
Duties and authorities would be as specified in City Charter and the Code
$131,000 annual salary
Mayor Boles noted that the salary was comparable to similar cities throughout the state.4
Salary increase or decrease would be comm[en]serate with City policy Benefits were the same as provided to all City employees
Accrued vacation and sick leave according to City policy
Provided an additional weeks vacation
City provided vehicle
Retirement benefits in accordance to City policy
Minimum of three Commissioners vote to terminate
City Charter amended to change the form of government
Reduction of base salary or other financial benefits not in accordance to City policy
Offer of resignation by the Commission
Bre[a]ch of employment agreement
Minimum of 10 months salary
10 months paid insurance benefits
City would not be obligated to pay benefits if convicted of a felony

Mr. Brown stated that the agreement included an annual performance evaluation conducted by the Commission. He explained that it required a written evaluation process and jointly defined annual goals and performance objectives. He noted that if an evaluation was not conducted, it would not be considered a breech of agreement. He added that the agreement provided an indemnification provision, in which the City provided representation in the event Mr. Regan was sued, and if the claim was within the scope of his duties, and he exercised proper judgments and discretion. He concluded that the Agreement would be effective July 1, 2010.
Commissioner Sikes-Kline questioned the evaluation process.
Mr. Brown replied that evaluations were based on whether an employee had maintained the goals and objectives established the previous year, and were generally completed during budget considerations. He added that a written evaluation could be provided 30 days following the performance evaluation meeting for Mr. Regan. He stated that the Commission could determine the evaluation process for the City Manager.
Mr. Regan noted that all City employees were evaluated during the same period.
Commissioner Freeman expressed concern regarding the City Manager’s evaluation being conducted during the same period as all City employees.
Mr. Regan suggested conducting the evaluation in October.
Commissioner Freeman questioned the purpose of excluding arbitration or attorney’s fees clauses within the agreement.
Mr. Brown replied that arbitration as a government was not legal in the State of Florida. He stated that cities had venue privilege and could only be sued within the residing county. He advised that in the absence of the attorney’s fee provision, Florida law required a contract, a statute or a fund be provided; therefore, attorney’s fees were non-recoverable by the City or the City Manager.
Commissioner Sikes-Kline MOVED to accept the Employment Agreement as presented. The motion was SECONDED by Commissioner Jones
AYES: Sikes-Kline, Jones, Freeman
Crichlow, Boles
Commissioner Sikes-Kline suggested developing a similar agreement for the City Attorney and the City Clerk positions.
Mr. Brown stated that he agreed with Mr. Regan’s concept of professionalism provided by the agreement regarding evaluations, goals and objectives.
Commissioner Jones suggested discussing the process individually with the City Attorney and City Clerk.
Commissioner Freeman suggested waiting for a period of time prior to developing agreements.

REGAN with "pipe" (more like a colander) that was leaking semi-treated sewage effluent in our saltwater marsh for years, without public discussion (former City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS illegally "polled" Commissioners in violation of Sunshine law

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