By Dan Moffett
The South Palm Beach Town Council has rewarded Town Manager Robert Kellogg with a one-year contract that lifts the interim status he has worked under since taking the job in December.
“I think that with services the town have received from this town manager and the monies that were spent, we have a tremendous bargain right now,” Councilman Mark Weissman said in endorsing Kellogg’s new contract.
The vote was 4-1 on Sept. 24, with Councilwoman Stella Gaddy Jordan dissenting. Jordan argued that the manager’s position should be a part-time job and that the agreement with Kellogg should be extended only until January, then reevaluated.
“I do not think for a town this size that a full-time manager is needed,” she said.
Councilman Bill LeRoy disagreed.
“Mr. Kellogg is an asset to us,” he said. “To cut the position back to part-time — it’s absurd.”
Weissman said Kellogg had proved his value to the town over the last nine months and demonstrated why a full-time manager is essential. “The town does not operate on a part-time basis,” he said. “This is not a part-time position.”
Kellogg, in making his case for a new contract to the council, cited three ways he has saved taxpayers money:
• Moving town reserves into investment funds that pay a significantly higher rate of return and are likely to bring in $100,000 more annually.
• Changing the vendor for internet technology services to a company that has improved performance, with a savings of about $26,000 a year.
• Managing the hiring and a tight budget of the Police Department before the takeover by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. He said that could save $70,000.
“I know there has been discussion about reducing this position to part-time,” Kellogg told the council. “But I do not know any community that has a $2.5 million operation and $4.5 million in the bank that has a part-time employee.”
Mayor Bonnie Fischer sided with Kellogg and commended him for his work on the beach stabilization and restoration efforts. Fischer said a one-year contract, with a one-year renewal option, is the right compromise between part-time and the longer term agreement Kellogg preferred.
Vice Mayor Robert Gottlieb agreed. “I believe in compromise,” Gottlieb said, “and a one-year contract is good compromise.”
Town Attorney Glen Torcivia said he would negotiate terms of the agreement with Kellogg, who is expected to earn about $104,000 a year. Before coming to South Palm Beach, Kellogg, 66, worked as town manager in Hillsboro Beach and Sewall’s Point.
He is the fourth manager South Palm Beach has had in the last five years.