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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Plant City gives new manager raise before he starts job

PLANT CITY — The new city manager hasn’t yet worked his first day but he’s already gotten a raise.

The majority of the city commissioners decided Tuesday that it wouldn’t be fair to pay Mike Herr $135,000 a year because he’s making $156,000 in his current job as Tampa’s public works and utility services administrator.

They voted 4-1 to increase the annual salary in his employment agreement to $150,000. They also struck from the agreement a requirement that he move to Plant City within a year.

Herr, who did not ask for the contract changes, starts as city manager Sept. 29.

Commissioner Bill Dodson was the lone dissenter on the amendments to Herr’s employment agreement. Dodson said Herr already had agreed to work for $135,000 a year and to move to Plant City within that time frame so there was no reason to change his employment terms.

Commissioner Mike Sparkman said in retrospect, the salary the city was offering Herr was too low. He said many city employees don’t live in the city limits, either.

Herr lives in south Lakeland, a short distance from Plant City.

All city commissioners, including Dodson, say they believe that Herr will do a terrific job.

“We know you are going to go out there and get it done,” Commissioner Mary Mathis said.

Mathis noted that by not requiring him to move, the city will save on his moving expenses.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the amended employment agreement. Dodson said he still approved of the decision to hire Herr, that his argument was only in the last-minute changes to the contract.

Herr, who said he plans to move to Plant City at some point in the future, wasn’t expecting the contract changes.

“I appreciate what you’ve done for me this evening,” he told commissioners.

Herr has more than 35 years of experience in government administration. He replaces Greg Horwedel, who resigned in April to become deputy Hillsborough County administrator.

Retired City Manager David Sollenberger has served in an interim role since Horwedel resigned. He plans to remain on the job until the end of September to help with the transition as Herr comes on board.

Twitter: @dnicholsonTBO

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