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Lake City News

LC City Manager Search: New City Manager Contract Based on ICMA Model – Involuntary Servitude Included

picture of contract
Photo: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash  | Columbia County Observer graphic

LAKE CITY, FL – This evening, the City Council has on its docket the new City Manager contract. Not having learned from the recent and still under investigation Paul Dyal contract debacle, the Council is being asked to recognize an involuntary servitude clause again.

On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William Seward certified that the Thirteenth Amendment had become valid.

The Thirteenth Amendment of the US Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.

Proposed City Manager Contract

link to city manager contractA review of selected City Manager Don Rosenthal’s proposed contract shows that it used as its model the International City Manager’s Association (ICMA) model contract.

While the contract protects the City from another Paul Dyal-like debacle, one troublesome clause remains.

Hidden in section 2, page 3, is a phrase that explains if Mr. Rosenthal resigns, the City Council must accept his resignation. This clause caused a delay in Paul Dyal's departure, which ended up costing taxpayers another two weeks in pay and benefits. In Mr. Dyal’s case, that amounted to another approximately $7,800.

There is nothing in any law that would prohibit Mr. Rosenthal from resigning and subsequently being held in his position. That is called slavery and involuntary servitude and is against the Constitution.

A City Attorney Without Common Sense:
Tiny Type & Water Marks

City Attorney Clay Martin called the contract an exhibit and watermarked all the pages, making them difficult to read.

Attorney Martin compounded the readability difficulty by using what looks like 10-point type instead of 12-point, which the courts require because judges like to be able to read documents without straining their eyes. Mr. Martin doesn't think readability is important for City Council members and the public.

In the public interest, the Observer removed the watermark (on one page, it could not be completely removed) and numbered all the pages beginning with the enabling resolution.

You may view and download City Manager Rosenthal’s contract here. Information in this article is highlighted in the contract.

The Details

What does the City Manager do? Section 2 on page 3 outlines his responsibilities.

How much does the City Manager earn? Section 3 on page 4 starts Mr. Rosenthal with a yearly base salary of $165,000. The City Council can adjust Mr. Rosenthal's up anytime it wants.

Mr. Rosenthal gets health, disability, and life insurance courtesy of the taxpayers. Mr. Rosenthal’s life insurance is three times his salary.

Upon employment, Mr. Rosenthal is awarded 80 sick hours and 80 hours (two weeks) of accrued vacation. (page 5) He will also receive 90 sick days in case he has a serious medical condition.

Section 6 talks about the car the taxpayers are paying for.

Section 8 explains the business expenses paid for by the taxpayers, which include for business and personal use, a Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (5G capable) tablet, a laptop computer, software, internet connection at Mr. Rosenthals’ permanent residence, and/or mobile phone/personal digital assistant for business and such tablet, laptop computer, and mobile phone/personal digital assistant which shall become the property of Mr. Rosenthal.

Section 9, termination (page 6) seeks to avoid a repeat of the Paul Dyal muck-up, as does section 10, severance. Paragraph E is unnecessary as the City Council is the only one that can approve a severance payout.

Section 12 has Mr. Rosenthal being evaluated after six months of employment. Taxpayers should expect a bump up in Mr. Rosenthal’s starting salary at that time.

Section 14, page 8, binds Mr. Rosenthal to the ICMA Code of Ethics, something that Paul Dyal and the City Council refused.

Section 16, page 8, talks about moving and relocation. Mr. Rosenthal will receive up to $10,000 to move into the area. The City Attorney does not mention Lake City as a place of residence.

The ICMA Code of Ethics begins on page 12. It is part of Mr. Rosenthal's contract.

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