By Jane Smith
Delray Beach’s City Commission picked the candidate with Florida experience as the next city manager.
Mark Lauzier will start Nov. 6 with an annual salary of $235,000 under a contract approved Oct. 17 by the City Commission.
“It’s a rich contract,” Commissioner Shelly Petrolia said. “Our expectations are high.”
Lauzier also will receive a $650 monthly car allowance, $2,500 monthly housing allowance for six months, up to $25,000 for moving expenses, a bank of 120 vacation/personal days and 40 sick days, and retirement benefits paid for by the city.
“I’ve been preparing my entire career for this job,” Lauzier told the commission at an Oct. 10 special meeting.
Lauzier comes from a job as assistant city manager in Tacoma, the third-largest city in Washington state, with nearly triple the population of Delray Beach. He oversaw five departments there.
He started as a police officer in Connecticut, then became a budget officer.
He received a master’s in public administration with a city management concentration from the University of New Haven, Connecticut.
His Florida experience includes serving as an assistant city manager in Pompano Beach and city manager in Parkland, both in Broward County.
At the special meeting, Mayor Cary Glickstein, who usually gives his opinions last on issues, spoke first before commissioners picked the new city manager.
“I spoke to the mayor of Pompano Beach, whom I have known since high school, the mayor of Parkland and the Dallas city manager who recruited Lauzier to Tacoma,” he said. They all gave glowing support of Lauzier, the mayor said.
Lauzier knows how Florida government works and will bring that knowledge here, Glickstein added. “The citizens of this town need a legitimate city manager,” he said.
Petrolia said she appreciated that information from Lauzier’s former employers. But she favored the other candidate, Ed Collins of Utah.
“He actually opened our budget and talked to me about the things in it,” she said. She called him a likable man who is steady, even-keeled and a quick learner.
Even so, she joined the majority in selecting Lauzier. After the selection, Lauzier withdrew his name as a finalist for the Jupiter town manager position.
Lauzier, who intends to live in Delray Beach, said he will first talk to staffers about their roles and then with the commissioners about their priorities. “I will assess the environment, and then I will make suggestions,” he said.
Glickstein has high hopes for Lauzier.
“I get the distinct impression [Lauzier] has a plan and is eager to jump in,” Glickstein said via email. “But like any such leadership role, he needs staff buy-in to achieve his vision, which will take some time.
“The good news is that our police and fire departments are in great shape because of the leadership in those departments, which represent more than 50 percent of our budget and personnel. Mark can focus initially and almost exclusively on City Hall and other external departments.”
Fire-Rescue Chief Neal deJesus took over after the previous city manager left in December. He expected to serve as the interim city manager for a few months and stated he did not want the job permanently. He received a salary increase to $187,013. When he returns to his fire chief position, he will be paid $159,515.
At that time, acting Fire Rescue Chief Keith Tomey will revert to assistant fire chief at an annual salary of $135,000. He had received a 10 percent boost, to $148,500 a year, as acting chief.