Agreement with Drummond goes to County Commission Tuesday


Published: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 5:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 5:12 p.m.

The agreement to officially name Rick Drummond interim county manager goes to the Alachua County Commission on Tuesday.

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Interim Alachua County Manager Rick Drummond Dec. 13, 2011. (Courtesy Photo)

Under the proposed terms, Drummond’s annual salary would be $160,000. In addition, county government will contribute an amount equal to 5 percent of his salary — which would now be $8,000 — toward a retirement plan provided through ICMA-RC, a nonprofit financial services corporation specializing in public employee retirement plans.

County government also will contribute to Drummond’s existing pension plan, which is through the Florida Retirement System’s Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP).

The county will also provide Drummond with a vehicle or a $450 monthly car allowance.

Should a majority of the County Commission vote to dismiss Drummond as the acting manager, the agreement has him returning to his job as assistant county manager but retaining the higher salary and benefits he received as acting manager for 90 days. He may, with 60 days notice, resign as acting manager and return to the position of assistant manager.

Drummond’s salary as assistant county manager was $132,234. Outgoing County Manager Randall Reid, who has been manager since December 1999, has a salary of $169,686. Reid departs on Jan. 20 to become the Sarasota County administrator.

County Commissioner Susan Baird said she had reservations about giving Drummond a salary “within striking distance” of what a manager on the job for 12 years made.

“The safeguards, I thought, were fair,” she said. “The salary, I thought, should be a little bit lower.”

The County Attorney’s Office and County Commission Chairman Paula DeLaney negotiated with Drummond on the agreement.

The last time the county had an interim manager was in 1999, when now-retired Deputy Manager Richelle Sucara held the job before the hiring of Reid. Sucara’s agreement with the county, which was approved before any current commissioners were in office, included a condition offering severance pay when her employment with the county ended. The agreement was intended as a protection for Sucara if a new manager came on board and ousted her.

But the condition granting severance pay had no sunset date and, when Sucara retired last fall, she received approximately $49,000 in severance.

County Attorney Dave Wagner said there is no condition in the agreement with Drummond to pay him severance after his employment with the county ends.

Drummond, 65, started with the county in 2002 as Growth Management director and was promoted to assistant county manager in 2007.

Commissioners’ current plan is to let the search for a full-time manager wait until after the November election, when three seats on the board are up for election. That could possibly leave Drummond on the job as interim manager for upwards of a year. His tenure must draw to an end by August 2013, when he is set to retire under DROP.

Also Tuesday, commissioners are scheduled to decide on turning informal meetings into workshops.

The informal meetings, which started in the late 1990s as “ring of fire sessions,” had no set agendas and were open for discussion of any county government issues.

The proposed changes will transform the informal meetings into workshops, which have a set agenda of items for discussion but also time for commissioners to discuss items not on the agenda.

Commissioners first discussed the proposed changes during a December planning retreat. They come after allegations from Republican activist Ward Scott and others that the informal meetings, which sometimes included discussions of how commissioners intended to vote on items that would later come before them, violated the Sunshine Law.

The State Attorney’s Office, working with the Florida attorney general, investigated those allegations and concluded there was no Sunshine Law violation.

Contact Christopher Curry at 374-5088 or chris.curry@gvillesun.com.

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