Commission Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the November 18, 2019 6 p.m.
Commission Meeting

This special meeting of the Lady Lake Town Commission was held in the Commission Chambers at Lady Lake Town Hall, 409 Fennell Blvd., Lady Lake, Florida with Mayor Jim Richards presiding. The meeting convened at 6 p.m.

A. Call to Order

Mayor Jim Richards

B. Invocation

By Pastor Keith Johnson, Chapel of Christian Faith

C. Pledge of Allegiance

D. Roll Call

Commissioner (Ward) Present
Hannan (Four) YES
Kussard (One) YES
Holden (Two) YES
Vincent (Three) YES
Richards (Five) YES

Staff Present

Kris Kollgaard, Town Manager; Derek Schroth, Town Attorney; Thad Carroll, Growth Management Director; C.T. Eagle, Public Works Director; Mike Burske, Parks and Recreation Director; Pam Winegardner, Finance Director; Chief Rob Tempesta, Deputy Chief Jason Brough, Detective Matt Duryea, Sergeant Charles Gehrsitz, Sergeant Tom Sarakinis, Sergeant Greg House, Officer Lidia Maya, Officer Adam Cronk; Jan Miller, Assistant to Police Chief, Pat Hughes Staff Assistant, Mary Mullen and Elvira Ruiz, Records staff, Lady Lake Police Department; Maureen Gochee, Human Resource Director; Julia Harris, Assistant to Town Manager; and Nancy Slaton, Deputy Town Clerk

E. Public Comment

Mayor Richards asked if anyone had any comments.

Mr. Robert Nyce of 747 Agua Way thanked the Town Manager and the Public Works Director for meeting with him regarding his concerns about the intersections on Avenida Central and Rio Grande Avenue in The Villages. He stated he feels these intersections need stop signs to keep people safe when they are trying to get to the gate. Another dangerous intersection is at Rio Grande and Chula Vista by the Recreation Center. He met with Representative Hague and asked him to introduce legislation to allow 55 and over communities like ours to bypass some of the necessary rules of the state to allow stop signs and traffic control devices without having to expend large sums on studies when safety is an issue. Mr. Nyce stated he plans on meeting with the Senator as well.

F. Commission Swearing-in Ceremony

Ruth Kussard, Ward One

Dan Vincent, Ward Three

Jim Richards, Ward Five

Town Manager Kris Kollgaard conducted the Swearing-In Ceremony by administering the Oath of Office to Commissioner Ruth Kussard, Ward One; Commissioner Dan Vincent, Ward Three; and Commissioner Jim Richards, Ward Five.

G. Consideration of Selection of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem for 2019-2020

Commissioner Hannan nominated Mayor Richards to remain as Mayor for the next one-year term. Commissioner Holden seconded the motion, and the motion passed by a vote of 5 to 0.

Commissioner Hannan nominated Commissioner Kussard to continue to act as Mayor Pro-Tem for next one-year term. Commissioner Holden seconded the motion, and the motion passed by a vote of 5 to 0.

H. Consideration of Selection of Commission Liaisons for 2019-2020

After discussion, it was the consensus of the Commission to keep the liaison assignments the same for 2019—2020 as the previous year.

I. Presentation: Commendations for Police Officers

Chief Robert Tempesta recognized Sergeant Charles Gehrsitz for outstanding police service and presented him with a lifesaving award. On October 11, 2019, Sergeant Gehrsitz ignored risk to himself and pulled an unconscious man from a burning vehicle in Water Oak. The driver has since written to thank the sergeant for his actions, indicating he is recovering nicely thanks to the selfless action of Sergeant Gehrsitz.

Chief Tempesta also recognized Sergeant Tom Sarakinis for outstanding police service. A concerned neighbor had contacted the police and asked them to check up on a resident. There was no response and the house being checked on was locked up. Sergeant Sarakinis was uncomfortable with the situation and went above and beyond to locate and contact family members of the resident, insisting that they get into the home to check on the individual. The family members arranged for a locksmith to access the home and the resident was located inside in need of medical attention. Chief Tempesta stated that Sergeant Sarakinis’ insistence that something was not right, and his relentless follow-up, undoubtedly save the woman’s life.

1. Minutes — October 21, 2019 — Regular Commission Meeting

Mayor Richards asked if any of the Commissioners had any questions regarding the minutes, and hearing none, asked for a motion.

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to approve Consent Item J-1. Commissioner Hannan seconded the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 5 to 0.

K. Old Business

No old business.

L. New Business

2. Consideration to Give Permission for the Relay for Life of The Villages/Lady Lake to Utilize Heritage Park on March 28, 2020 for a Luminaria Ceremony (Mike Burske)

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Burske presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). He stated this passed the Park, Recreation & Tree Advisory Committee by a vote of 4 to 0.

Mayor Richards asked if there were any questions, and hearing none, asked for a vote.

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to a give permission for the Relay for Life of The Villages/Lady Lake to utilize Heritage Park on March 28, 2020 for a Luminaria Ceremony. Commissioner Hannan seconded the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 5 to 0.

3. Consideration to Advertise a Request for Proposal (RFP 2019-0001) for a Compensation Study (Maureen Gochee)

Human Resource Director Maureen Gochee presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office).

Commissioner Kussard stated she would like to be a part of the process for this RFP if the other Commissioners did not object.

Mayor Richards asked if there will be a scoring matrix.

Town Manager Kris Kollgaard replied that a selection committee will be appointed to review responses. She stated staff would like to have input from a Commissioner for the initial meeting with the short-listed firms to ensure that the study is being done as per the Commissioners’ wishes and with municipalities comparable to Lady Lake.

Commissioner Hannan, Commissioner Vincent, and Mayor Richards were agreeable for Commissioner Kussard to represent the Commissioners regarding this study.

Commissioner Holden stated he is not in favor of spending $50,000 for a compensation study. He stated the Town’s employees have been rewarded every year with up to four and five percent increases every year, above most other communities. He stated that a survey could be completed in-house by the Human Resources Director rather than paying out $50,000 to see if the Town’s pay is comparable.

Mayor Richards stated that this is a budgeted item which was discussed when the Commission approved the budget.

Ms. Gochee explained that three items have since been changed to the RFP that was included in the packet.

Ms. Kollgaard stated that these items were technical changes that were made to the RFP. She stated the Town Attorney has reviewed the RFP.

Commissioner Hannan asked when the last compensation study was done.

Ms. Kollgaard replied that the last outside study was done almost 20 years ago, perhaps in 1997 or 1998. She said in-house studies have been done since. She stated an outside firm will also look at benefits, how to retain employees, etc., and these recommendations will be brought to the Commission for final decisions.

Commissioner Holden stated that just because $50,000 for a compensation study was included in the budget, it does not mean that it needs to be spent. He stated he believes this is a waste of money.

With no further discussion, Mayor Richards asked for a motion.

Commissioner Holden made a motion against advertising for RFP 2019-0001 for a Compensation Study. Commissioner Vincent seconded the motion. The motion failed by a vote of 2 to 3 (Hannan, Kussard, and Richards).

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to approve advertising for RFP 2019-0001 for a Compensation Study. Commissioner Hannan seconded the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 3 to 2 (Holden and Vincent).

M. Town Attorney's Report

4. Ordinance 2019-17 (First Reading) — Amending Chapter 10.5 — Police Pension Benefits (Pam Winegardner)

Town Attorney Derek Schroth read the ordinance by title only.

Finance Director Pam Winegardner presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office).

Commissioner Holden asked at what point an officer could retire, and at what age an officer could retire and come back and be employed again.

Ms. Winegardner replied that an officer can take early retirement at ten years. She stated this ordinance does not apply to early retirement or if an officer retires with a disability. She stated under this ordinance, an officer can only return to work after retiring after completing 25 years on the job.

Commissioner Holden asked what benefits the rehired employee would be entitled to and at what cost.

Town Manager Kris Kollgaard clarified that under this ordinance, the retired officer could only return to work for the Town in a civilian position, not as an officer, and the employee would not be eligible to continue in the pension fund. She stated there is currently an officer who is planning on retiring from the police force, but has I.T. skills, and would like to come back part-time in that capacity. Without this ordinance, under the current plan, the officer would stop collecting his pension if he returned to work for the Town. If this ordinance is approved, the officer could retire and collect his pension and return to work for the Town in a civilian job, although he would not be eligible to rejoin the pension plan.

Ms. Kollgaard clarified for Commissioner Vincent that sworn officers have a defined benefit plan whereas general employees have a 401K plan.

Mayor Richards asked if anyone had any questions or comments regarding this ordinance.

Mr. Stephen Micciche introduced himself as the chief negotiator for the Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), which is a certified bargaining agent for officers from the rank of sergeant and below. He stated it is his understanding that pensions are mandatory subjects of bargaining, such as when the Town is changing a benefit or approving an ordinance changing a pension. He stated that the PBA has not been informed of any changes being proposed.

Mayor Richards stated that if the retired officer did not return to work as an officer, he would no longer be part of the union.

Mr. Micciche stated that since this ordinance is a change in a condition of the Police Pension Plan, it is a mandatory subject of bargaining and should be brought before the bargaining unit before being acted on.

Ms. Kollgaard stated staff will contact the attorney for the Police Pension Board and have him contact Mr. Micciche.

Mayor Richards stated this ordinance will be tabled to a date uncertain pending review by the attorney.

N. Town Manager's Report

5. Consideration of the Charter Review Committee’s Recommendation Regarding the Town Charter (Kris Kollgaard)

Town Manager Kris Kollgaard presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). She stated Mr. Nyce, Chairman of the Charter Review Committee, is present if there are any questions.

Commissioner Kussard thanked the Charter Review Committee members for taking the time to serve on this committee.

Mayor Richards thanked Mr. Nyce for chairing the committee, as well.

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to accept the Charter Review Committee’s recommendation that no changes be made to the Charter and inform the Charter Review Committee members that they do not need to meet again. Commissioner Hannan seconded the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 5 to 0.

Town Manager Kris Kollgaard reported that the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization will be relocating to an office in Leesburg.

Ms. Kollgaard reported that the remodeling of the community building will begin in January as there were reservations through the holidays. Those who use the building on a regular basis have been contacted about the remodeling.

The Villages Elementary students will be decorating the Christmas tree in the Town Hall lobby on December 4th, starting at 9 a.m.

The Christmas Parade is scheduled for Saturday, December 7th, at 10 a.m.

Light Up Lady Lake will occur on Friday, December 13th, at 6:15 p.m.

Ms. Kollgaard received approval from the Commissioners that Town Hall could close from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to attend the annual Christmas Party on Thursday, December 19th.

Ms. Kollgaard reported that representatives of the Lady Lake Cemetery would like to meet with the Commissioners on January 22nd before the Special Commission meeting to discuss their proposals regarding the cemetery. She stated they are asking whether the Town would consider taking over the cemetery or they may consider partnering with one of the churches.

Mayor Richards commented that perhaps the American Legion could get involved.

Commissioner Hannan stated partnering with one of the churches makes sense with the First Baptist Church abutting the cemetery.

O. Mayor and Commissioner's Report

Mayor Richards asked if any of the Commissioners had anything to report.

Commissioner Kussard recognized Lynn Davis, another member of the Charter Review Committee, who is present this evening.

Commissioner Kussard stated she is the liaison for the Villages Elementary School, and she took the opportunity to report on some statistics about the school, as follows:

· Has 577 students ages four through Grade Five.

· Is an “A” school and a Title 1 school.

· 80% of the students are at poverty level or below, entitling them to a free breakfast and a free lunch.

· Has two safe-contained special needs classes and three special education classes.

· Has two Title 1 reading program teachers and four enrichment teachers, and one shared speech therapist

· 53 students speak only Spanish; 109 families speak Spanish and English.

· 44 students are homeless.

She stated that the Villages Elementary School is the only school in Lady Lake, and they have the support of area churches and neighborhoods, for which they are grateful.

Commissioner Kussard stated the reason she brought this up was because of an email she received recently from the Chamber of Commerce in Lady Lake in which they report they will have an Angel Tree set up to support the Beverly Shores Elementary School in Leesburg, and not the Town’s one and only school. The Town supports the Chamber and they lease the Log Cabin from the Town. She stated that perhaps this should be brought up when discussing next years’ budget.

Mayor Richards stated he is looking forward to the Christmas season and that he will be in the parade with his Corvette.

P. Public Comment

Mayor Richards asked if there were any comments from the audience. There were no comments.

Q. Adjourn

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:37 p.m.

s/ Kristen Kollgaard, Town Clerk

s/ Jim Richards, Mayor

Minutes transcribed by Nancy Slaton, Deputy Town Clerk