BY JENNIFER CABRERA / OCTOBER 3, 2019
The Gainesville City Commission today unanimously approved a contract with Lee Feldman to become the next City Manager.
The contract is “of a continuing nature,” meaning that the City Manager will serve at the will of the city commission and/or until he resigns (the contract asks him to give 2 months’ notice). Feldman’s start date is November 4.
Feldman’s compensation will be $255,000/year, a city-provided vehicle or $450/month car allowance, and standard city benefits (except that he will start with 2 weeks of PTO and start accruing more at the rate of 10 hours 28 minutes per pay period, starting with the 9th pay period). The city will pay temporary living expenses of $1300/month for 6 months or until Feldman moves into a permanent residence. (The former city manager, Anthony Lyons, made $226,000, and Deborah Bowie makes $214,000. Feldman made $255,523 in Ft. Lauderdale.)
Feldman was formerly the City Manager of Ft. Lauderdale. He pushed hard to not increase taxes, and the property tax rate did not increase from 2003 to 2018, but city infrastructure was neglected during this time, resulting in a need for $3 billion in upgrades. Feldman was fired last fall after 3 new commissioners indicated they wanted to take the city in “a new direction.”
The Gainesville City Commission voted 6-1 to hire Feldman, with David Arreola saying that he had recently realized that none of the finalists had what he was looking for (he didn’t say what that was).
When we asked what it was about Gainesville that made Feldman want to live/work here, he responded, “it was the passion of everyone in Gainesville to build community.”