ZEPHYRHILLS — A majority of Zephyrhills City Council members on Monday were in favor of a new position proposed in next year’s budget.
Three council members said at a budget workshop they were in favor of the position for at least one year, changing the title from assistant to the city manager to management services director. A vote on the position will be taken during consideration of next year’s budget.
Council members were uncomfortable with the title of assistant to the city manager. They said the name indicated the position would serve as City Manager Jim Drumm’s personal assistant.
Drumm wrote in a letter to the council that the new position would “serve to quickly respond to customer concerns, provide administrative support to the city manager and department directors and would be assigned specific projects and programs.” The position would pay a starting salary of $47,549.
It was one of three new positions proposed in the new budget. The other positions were staff accountant in the finance department and human resources technician.
City Council President Lance Smith and Councilman Ken Burgess were opposed to the management services director position.
Smith questioned why three more staff members were needed. Former employee Katrina Bouthout served as administrative services director and customer service supervisor, as well as handling all human resources duties.
Drumm said Bouthout was overworked in her position, often could not take vacations and sometimes came into the office to work on her days off.
Smith said he could not support the management services director because other department heads have been asked in recent years to do more with fewer employees. He said the position seemed to be an assistant to Drumm.
“The outside guys have been cut, cut, cut, cut, cut and we’re saying we’re going to add this. I can’t buy into it I guess,” he said.
Drumm said positions were not being added, but reshuffled.
Councilman Kent Compton voiced his support for the position for one year.
Burgess said trying it out for one year will not work because once it is there it will not likely be eliminated. He suggested going without it for a year and revisiting it in the next budget.
Councilwoman Jodi Wilkeson agreed with Compton and took issue with Smith’s comments that the other departments are being asked to do more with less.