Gateway Sun

An outside consultant has been hired by the Gateway Services Community Development District to write new job descriptions for the district’s five key employees.

The consultant they hired is qualified to write job descriptions and is familiar with the GSCDD.

In order to write the job descriptions the consultant will spend two days at the district offices conducting interviews with the staff.

The consultant will be paid $1,000 for his work, a perfectly reasonable amount.

So, what’s the problem?

The GSCDD has a three year contract with Severn Trent, a management company that oversees over 60 CDDs in the state of Florida. The GSCDD pays Severn Trent $225,000 per year and one of their responsibilities is to create and update job descriptions for the employees.

If we are already paying Severn Trent to write job descriptions … (‘we’ being the residents of Gateway) … then why are we also hiring a consultant to do it?

It’s a duplication of services. We’re paying two people to perform the same function.

It’s $1,000 down the drain. That’s the problem.

The consultant that the GSCDD hired is Joe DeCerbo. The same Joe DeCerbo that we paid $5,000 to perform an HR audit earlier this year (that apparently did not include updating the staff’s job descriptions).

But believe me when I say that if the Board of Supervisors was going to look for outside help then I have no issue with them picking DeCerbo – as long as he limits himself to the task he was hired to do this time.

DeCerbo isn’t the problem.

In my opinion, the Board of Supervisors should have directed Severn Trent to update the job descriptions. After-all, that’s Severn Trent’s responsibility, they’re quite capable, and we’re already paying them to do it.

Supervisor Rod Senior sees it differently.

Said Senior: “On February 8, 2015, Severn Trent provided a detailed report on GSCDD staffing needs. Included in the recommendations was the hiring of an outside professional to conduct an analysis of the District’s operations and to recommend changes to staffing, organization structure and operational efficiency. It was obvious to me that this called for a management consultant more than an HR consultant. Joe DeCerbo soon discovered that GSCDD’s problems include an absence of a strategic vision; a disconnect between board, district management and staff; a lack of goals, clear direction and accountability; and no succession planning. In my experience, it is always better to hear this from a third party than from line management which has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, not wanting to be at odds with the board of directors.”

Senior continued, “Based upon his initial interviews with staff and supervisors, Joe found that the job descriptions in the Severn Trent report do not reflect actual daily job functions. Accordingly, Joe will now conduct in depth job function interviews with key members of GSCDD staff to ascertain their current actual daily activities, and to recommend new job functions for them based upon their individual experience, qualifications, skills, and personal strengths.”

Sounds great. But if DeCerbo found that the job descriptions weren’t accurate, Severn Trent should have been given the opportunity to update or rewrite them.

I’m not buying Senior’s argument that Severn Trent has a ‘vested interest in maintaining the status quo’ or that they’re afraid of being at odds with the GSCDD Board, either.

Severn Trent aren’t perfect but they are good people and over-all they’re doing a good job for Gateway. About a month ago District Manager Calvin Teague and Supervisor Gary Neubauer got in to a shouting match with each other at a Board meeting. While some people may have been disappointed in that behavior from grown men, I was glad … because it showed they actually care.

Teague, who is Severn Trent’s point man at the GSCDD, does not behave like someone who wants the status quo. And there’s been times when Teague has been at odds with the Supervisors as well. So I’m not so sure Senior’s take is accurate in this case.

But anyway.

Recapping, in my opinion it was a total waste of $1,000, but the GSCDD Board doesn’t agree and new job descriptions for district staff will be written by DeCerbo. I could be wrong but I believe DeCerbo was at the district offices yesterday and will be back today to do the interviewing.

Senior also provided some information regarding the next steps that some people will be very pleased to hear.

“By the end of calendar year 2015, Severn Trent will be asked to conduct staff performance reviews based on the new job functions. Severn Trent will also be asked to propose a new organization chart containing new job titles and salaries commensurate with the new job functions. The goal is to put the right people in the right jobs for maximum productivity,” said Senior.

Quite a few residents have reached out to me via email and complained about GSCDD staff salaries. I’ve looked the salaries over and based on their job titles I don’t really find anybody’s pay to be crazy or out of whack, but I have no idea what anybody there actually does all day, so who knows?

There definitely is a desire among some residents to have a GSCDD staff salary re-evaluation done so I think it’s something we can all support.

For the record, the Supervisors voted 4-0 to authorize this $1,000 contract with DeCerbo. Chairman William Guy was not present and did not vote.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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