Windermere Town Council extends town manager's deal

Robert Smith is signed as Windermere's town manager through 2021.

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  • | 8:54 p.m. February 9, 2016
  • Southwest Orange
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WINDERMERE  Although each member of the Windermere Town Council agreed in evaluations of Town Manager Robert Smith he has been impeccable since he signed on as town manager Oct. 24, 2011, not all members agreed on how to set up an extension for Smith at the Feb. 9 Windermere Town Council meeting.

Councilman Richard Gonzalez said most town managers receive $150,000 or more and have assistants, whereas Smith currently makes around $110,000 and does not have an assistant town manager. Gonzalez recommended a recurring 5% increase in a reworked extension, which would double from two-and-a-half years to five years.

"He has shown exemplary performance in all areas," Gonzalez said.

The council agreed someone should be prepared to take over in case something happened to Smith, but Councilwoman Molly Rose said Windermere's salaries had been in line with the area and suggested a minimum 3% increase. The council would then be able to add further to Smith's raise each year as it would see fit.

Councilman Bob McKinley said the evaluation form needed an update to better reflect Smith's role and the town's charter. Councilman John Armstrong agreed and said he had been asking for changes to the form for four years. Mayor Gary Bruhn said he had been trying for years to keep evaluations in the February or March period, based on elections of new council members in March.

The council ultimately agreed by a 3-1 vote to amend Smith's most recent extension to five years with a minimum 3% increase to be determined at a yearly evaluation. McKinley dissented. For the 2016-17 year, Smith's pay would increase to at least $114,000, Bruhn said.

Of his evaluation, Smith said he would let the council decide what it means for his contract. He said he found most interesting a question of whether he would change the Windermere brand, to which he said no, because the brand carries weight well beyond the borders of the town.

Councilman Jim O'Brien was absent from this meeting.

Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].


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