The Gateway Services Community Development District was set name Interim Operations Manager April White as the district’s new permanent General Manager at yesterdays GSCDD meeting.
But as usual, some members the Board of Supervisors moved the goalpost further away at the last minute, preventing a decision from being made.
The contract was agreed upon. The pay was a little bit on the low side compared to what some other districts pay their top manager, but White agreed to it. Everything was set to go. Nice and smooth. Welcome to Gateway, April White!
And then Supervisor Pam Gill got involved.
Gill has two main modes of operation. The first is to hem and haw, and waffle around, and kick the can down the road. The other is to ask what everyone else thinks and go along with them. In the year and a half I have been watching this board, she has literally never shown forward-looking leadership on any issue. The only time she takes point is when she wants to stall.
And unfortunately for the GSCDD staff and the district’s residents, Gill was hellbent on stalling the process of naming White the new GM.
Last month when the GSCDD’s employee responsible for water and sewage billing abruptly quit their job, it was White who took charge and worked with another district employee to figure things out and get the water bills out. White didn’t ask for a consultant to come in, she didn’t waste time, she didn’t complain.
She got it done. She figured it out. She knew she had to.
I have also been hearing that she’s gotten more done in her 3 months there than anyone ever expected. Rather than taking her time and using the excuse of “I’m new” in order to move slowly and deliberately, she’s getting things done at the district office.
But when it came time to rip the Interim label off of her job title and officially place her in charge, Gill and Supervisor Gary Neubauer objected.
In fairness to Neubauer, at least he named his reasons. One, he wanted White’s pay to be $5,000 lower. (Hey Gary, you do know other districts pay over $100k and provide their manager with a car, right?) And two, he waved around the resume of another potential candidate that he wanted the board to consider.
But Gill had no reasons. It was literally just because.
She offered nothing. She just didn’t want to vote for White to become the manager.
She wanted to wait 90 days. For what? She apparently doesn’t even know.
The other Supervisors tried appeasing Gill, but nothing worked. Vice-Chairman Margaret Fineberg suggested reducing White’s contract from a 3-year deal to a 1-year deal with a 2-year option. White agreed.
Gill still rejected giving White even a 1-year deal. Just because.
Keep in mind the contract has a clause that White can be immediately terminated if 4 out of the 5 Supervisors want her gone. So even if White isn’t as good for the GSCDD as we think she is, there’s a mechanism available to move on from her without a buyout.
My read on the situation is that if they had of proceeded with a vote, Chairman Bill Guy, Fineberg and Supervisor Doug Banks would have voted in favor of White, while Gill and Neubauer would have voted against.
Some might say that a split 3-2 vote is not the kind of support White needs from the Board of Supervisors, but I think there’s been too much of a wishy-washy, do-nothing attitude where no key decisions are made unless all of the Supervisors are happy.
There’s five of them for this very reason. There’s five so they can make the tough calls when there are conflicting points of view. The wisdom of three out of the five should be good enough to move things forward.
But I guess that’s not the way it works. Just because.
So whatever problem Gill has with White becoming the new General Manager, for the sake of the residents she needs figure out what she doesn’t like and let White and the rest of the board know.