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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Zephyrhills city manager resigns after reaching severance agreement

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Jim Drumm era in Zephyrhills city government has ended.

Drumm left Zephyrhills City Hall for the last time as city manager Friday afternoon after reaching a severance agreement with the city and signing a release that he will not sue the city.

“We reached an agreement,” said Zephyrhills City Council President Charlie Proctor. The resignation and release was signed about 4:37 p.m. Friday. The severance agreement approved at a special city council meeting on Wednesday did not change, Proctor said.

The severance package, approved on a 4-1 at Wednesday’s meeting, will cost the city about $54,473, including payroll-related expenses and insurance payments. The amount is about half of the nearly $90,000 severance package Drumm asked the council to approve. After taxes, he will leave with about $41,500, said Finance Director Stacie Poppell.

The package includes payment for time worked, a vacation payout for about 243 hours, about 55 hours of sick time, 13 weeks of severance pay, five months of health insurance payments and 40 hours of comp time. Only the additional insurance payments and comp time were beyond requirements outlined in his contract or required by law.

The city council will now begin a search for someone to fill the city manager position. The city will place ads in newspapers and with city manager associations, as well as with the Florida League of Cities, according to Zephyrhills City Clerk Linda Boan.

If procedures follow the last city manager search, a committee will be appointed by the city council to make a short list of applicants and the council will interview them. The process can take at least three months, Boan said.

The city will appoint an interim city manager to serve until a new city manager is hired. Proctor said during Drumm’s resignation negotiations that he has two or three people in mind to consider, but added he was not ready to disclose the names Friday.

Former city manager Steve Spina has been mentioned as a candidate for the city manager position. He had applied for a job as a Pasco County assistant administrator, but was not hired.

Spina said Friday he was not interested in getting involved in city matters at this time.

Drumm mentioned Spina as a possible replacement for him at a March 24 meeting when he read a letter to the council saying he had heard a rumor his removal was part of a movement to rehire Spina.

Councilman Ken Burgess agreed with Smith and Proctor later joined the councilmen in opposing a contract renewal for Drumm.

City Attorney Joe Poblick said Drumm’s contract renewal required the approval of four of the five council members. Two additional legal opinions were sought after Drumm voiced his disagreement with Poblick’s opinion, adding “I think I’ll have to get counsel.” Poblick’s opinion was confirmed by the additional legal opinions.

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