Commission Meeting Minutes
Minutes of the Special Commission Meeting - February 4, 2021, 9 a.m.
The 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 Ruth Kussard presiding. The meeting convened at 9 a.m.
A. Call to Order
Mayor Ruth Kussard
B. Roll Call
STAFF PRESENT: Thad Carroll, Interim Town Manager and Nancy Slaton, Interim Town Clerk
Others present: Colin Baenziger of Colin Baenziger & Associates (via Teams in the a.m. and in-person in the p.m.)
D. New Business
1. Review of Procedures for Interviews of Candidates for the Town Manager Position (Colin Baenziger & Associates, Executive Search Firm)
Colin Baenziger of Colin Baenziger & Associates reviewed the preferred interview process for the Commissioners.
2. Scheduled Interviews of Five Selected Candidates for the Town Manager Position by the Town Commission as follows:
- 9:05 to 9:50 — Ben Marchant
- 9:55 to 10:40 a.m. — George Korthauer
- 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. — William Lawrence
- 11:30 to 11:40 a.m. — 10 Minute Break
- 11:40 to 12:25 p.m. — Len Sossamon
- 12:30 t0 1:15 p.m. — Matt Campbell
- 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m. — Lunch Break
At the conclusion of the interviews, Mayor Kussard announced the lunch break, with the meeting to resume at 2 p.m.
3. Commission meets to Discuss the Interviews and Select a Candidate to Fill the Town Manager Position (2 p.m.)
Mayor Kussard introduced the Commissioners to Mr. Baenziger and asked him for direction on how the Commissioners should proceed for the afternoon session; whether they should hold a discussion regarding the candidates first or whether they should turn in their votes first.
Mr. Baenziger stated that what he finds works best is for each of the Commissioners to turn in their straw ballots with their top two candidates marked on the ballot. They can then have a discussion and reach a consensus on a candidate to fill the position.
The straw votes were turned in to the Interim Town Clerk who filled in the presentation ballot visible on the monitors. The results were reported as follows: Matt Campbell received four votes; Ben Marchant received three votes; William Lawrence received three votes; Len Sossamon received one vote; and George Korthauer received no vote.
In their discussion of the top two candidates, the Commissioners expressed their opinions and the majority agreed that Matt Campbell was their top choice.
Upon a motion by Commissioner Vincent and a second by Commissioner Rietz, the Commission agreed to offer the Town Manager position to Matt Campbell, and to begin contract negotiations for salary and benefits, by a vote of 5 to 0.
Mayor Kussard asked Town Attorney Derek Schroth for his advice on how to proceed from here.
Mr. Schroth clarified that the Commission has agreed to offer the Town Manager position to Mr. Campbell. He asked if the Commissioners had yet discussed the specific terms of the offer such as salary, benefits, vehicle allowance, etc.
Commissioner Vincent stated that he thought they should offer more than $120,000, as he stated the Town Manager should be paid more than the department heads.
Commissioner Hannan noted that Mr. Campbell’s current salary is $113,398.00.
Interim Town Manager Thad Carroll reported back that the Town’s highest paid department head makes just under $111,000 after verifying this with the Finance Director.
Mr. Baenziger interrupted by offering that he does not believe the Commissioners should have too much discussion of salary in public.
Mayor Kussard asked Mr. Baenziger what the normal course of action is for making an offer of employment at this stage.
Mr. Baenziger replied that typically a member of the Commission, working with the Town Attorney, and utilizing himself as an adviser, will put together a proposal they feel the Commission will find acceptable. Then they will discuss the proposal with Mr. Campbell, who may counter. When they come to a proposal they feel both parties will accept, it would then go before the Commission for a formal vote.
Mr. Baenziger noted that city managers typically have to give 30 days’ notice per their contracts.
Mr. Schroth stated he would be happy to reach out to Mr. Campbell and ask how much time he would need before he was able to start if the terms were agreeable.
Commissioner Hannan stated that salary will not be the only thing to negotiate.
Commissioner Holden confirmed with the Town Attorney that the Commission will have the option to counter any proposal from Mr. Campbell that is different from the initial proposal.
Mayor Kussard asked Mr. Schroth if the negotiations will include such items as a car allowance, mileage, insurance benefits, etc.
Mr. Schroth stated Town’s policy is currently to pay a mileage reimbursement rate.
Mayor Kussard stated to leave it at that at this time.
Commissioner Vincent asked if the Town should offer to pay relocation expenses.
Mr. Baenziger reiterated that the Commission should not continue to discuss this in a public meeting as it may give the candidate an unfair advantage in negotiating terms.
Mr. Schroth stated that he would contact Mr. Campbell to begin negotiations.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:42 a.m.
s/ Nancy Slaton, Interim Town Clerk
s/ Ruth Kussard, Mayor
Minutes transcribed by Nancy Slaton, Deputy Town Clerk