Wednesday, June 03, 2020

City of St. Augustine Beach vice mayor calls for resignation of City Manager Max Royle. (SAR)

When I read and heard St. Augustine Beach Vice Mayor Maggie Kostka's letter to maladroit City Manager BRUCE MAX ROYLE, I agreed: ROYLE needs to resign and retire.  Now.

Commission will have a discussion on it at their July 6, 2020 meeting at 6 pm.

Watch video of discussion in Commissioner comments here, commencing with Commissioner Undine George asking Vice Mayor Kostka to discuss (1:20 to 1:36).:

From The St. Augustine Record:

City of St. Augustine Beach vice mayor calls for resignation of City Manager Max Royle

By Christen Kelley

Posted Jun 1, 2020 at 10:30 PM

St. Augustine Beach Vice Mayor Maggie Kostka called for the resignation of longtime City Manager Max Royle Monday night during a regular City Commission meeting.

During commissioner comments, Kostka read aloud a letter she had sent to Royle earlier that day, outlining the expectations for a city manager as stated in the city’s charter.

She said that Royle was not as involved in the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as expected.

“You have not demonstrated the leadership or communication skills necessary to effectively serve as city manager,” she read from her letter. “I therefor respectfully request your resignation.”

Kostka noted Royle’s absence at weekly Emergency Operations Center meetings, where countywide officials came together to discuss the latest coronavirus response. She said that he failed to provide a plan for the city to follow executive orders passed down by the governor.

“It was only due to the daily communication and actions taken by our chief of police that the Commission was made aware of important information, ongoing actions and planned direction during the crisis,” Kostka said of Chief Robert Hardwick. “He was also instrumental in taking action to comply with executive orders with an immediate response and plan.”

Commissioner Undine George agreed that the Commission should discuss Royle’s employment openly.

“In the last eight, nine years I’ve been on the Commission, the performance reviews are the No. 1 most difficult thing for the Commission as a body to engage in, and a lot of that is due to the fact that it is a public forum,” George said. “Typically those personnel matters would not be aired in public. But I think it’s time we have a conversation about this.”

The Commission issues annual evaluations for the city manager and the chief of police, the two highest-paid employees at the city.

Royle’s most recent review had mixed feedback from commissioners. Kostka and George criticized Royle for failing to insure the city’s weir, which was damaged during Hurricane Irma. The cost to repair it was a major blow to the city’s recent budget. Royle responded that there was no insurance available for it at the time.

Kostka also asked Royle to present a plan for his successor, but Royle did not provide a specific candidate, implying that he had no plans to retire from the position.

Commissioners Don Samora and Dylan Rumrell were silent on the issue Monday night. Mayor Margaret England said she was all for having the discussion but did not voice any opinions on Royle’s performance.

The Commission did not take action on the topic but decided to table it for another meeting in July, after the city attorneys could review the conditions of Royle’s employment.

“I think Max is a wonderful person, but we need to talk about job performance and what we as the city of St. Augustine Beach need from a city manager,” Kostka said.

In October, the city celebrated Royle’s 30th year as city manager, which means he has held the position for half of the city’s existence.

Royle received a salary of $121,210 in 2019 and did not receive a raise in 2020 due to budget cuts.

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