OKEECHOBEE — During its April 6 meeting, the council talked about revamping the way it does supervisor evaluations. Councilman Bobby Keefe said he is really big on evaluations, and feels it is important to have appropriate evaluations. He said it is especially important at a supervisory level. “It shouldn’t be the same as what’s used for non-supervisory staff,” he said. For example, he said he recently received an evaluation form for Police Chief Bob Peterson, and it is the same one used for the people supervised by David Allen in the public works department.
Keefe said he found a 360 Evaluation and would like to implement that. City Attorney John Fumero said 360 Evaluations allow people in supervisory positions to be reviewed by the people they supervise, by their colleagues and by a manager. “In my firm, everyone is given an annual performance review. Anyone, whether above or below the person, can provide comments on that person’s supervisory or management skills. You get a compilation of comments. There are no names attached to them.” They get comments like, “He is very good at communication” or “I wish he would provide better direction.” These evaluations are not normally tied to financial decisions but are more a tool to help you become a better supervisor.
The council asked City Clerk Lane Gamiotea to look into getting this type of evaluation for the city. She and Fumero will also check into the legality of this type of evaluation as it pertains to public records.
In other business, Jennifer Tewksbury of the Economic Council of Okeechobee announced an upcoming event. The Economic Council is partnering with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Stuart/Martin Chamber to host a political leadership institute. This will take place on May 4-6 and is intended to inspire and motivate local people who may be considering a run for office or are currently in an elected office or an appointed position within the government. The course will give the participants a working knowledge of local and statewide issues. “We need to make sure our future leaders are informed,” she said. “This is a service our council is proud to offer our community free of charge.”
The Okeechobee City Council discussed a landscape incentive program and suspension of building department commercial irrigation fees of $84.00 until August 31, 2021. The intention is to improve the appearance of the city. City Administer Marcos Montes de Oca said his hands are somewhat tied. He can’t go out and spend thousands of dollars on plants for people, but they can help by temporarily eliminating the fees that go along with landscaping.
The council discussed some changes to the code enforcement process. Some of the changes would include allowing the magistrate some authority to reduce fines and the city attorney to institute foreclosure proceedings.
The 2020 audited financials were approved. According to Debbie Goode from the accounting firm Carr, Riggs and Ingram, the city of Okeechobee is financially sound.
The city agreed on a settlement of a lien in the foreclosure case on a home on Southwest Fifth Avenue. The case is in court and once in court, it has to be settled. The settlement is with the new owner, not with the person who originally received the lien.
The council approved a 30-day extension for the Taylor Creek SE 8th Avenue Stormwater Conveyance Project.
Fumero gave an update on the fire services contract and said there are five firefighters who may not have their paramedic certification by the deadline. There are only three positions available for non-paramedics, so if they do not have their certification, some of them could possibly not have a position.
Handicap parking spots will soon be added on Park Street.
The city public works department has been hard at work cleaning out the ditches in the southwest section, and homeowners in that area are very pleased with the progress said Councilmember Monica Clark.