Commissioner ratings for the county’s new economic development director ranged from just short of excellent to just satisfactory.
“I’m OK with all of them” Economic Development Director Dave Gammon told the Sun Tuesday after the commission voted to boost his salary to $112,000.
Commissioners promoted Gammon to the top job in June after spending months interviewing out-of-state candidates who one-by-one dropped out of the running. Board members then began to question the group rating system that did not encourage them to voice their support for Gammon — the in-house candidate.
They started Gammon out, however, at a rate lower than his predecessor, Lucienne Pears, and they instituted two, six-month reviews. The first was to bring Gammon’s $95,000 salary up to par. For example, Gammon’s predecessor, Lucienne Pears, started at $104,874 in 2016.
Commissioners did not debate Gammon’s performance at their meeting, but each submitted a rating sheet, and several commissioners submitted comments as well.
“He has done an excellent job in assisting with the various initial phases of the Sunseeker Resort project,” wrote Commissioner Christopher Constance. “At the direction of the current commission, he has made sure that staff with the Charlotte Harbor Community Redevelopment Area and Community Development Department have worked to make the construction of this project as effortless and rapid as possible.”
Constance warned, however, that much rests on the outcome of the Lost Lagoon water park and downtown project in the county-owned and undeveloped Murdock Village.
“Mr. Gammon has spent countless hours working with this group to try to have them perform as was promised in their initial agreement,” Constance wrote. “It would be unfortunate if this project did not become a reality in its promised form.”
Constance rated Gammon as approaching excellent in areas such as communications, judgement, integrity, budget and leadership.
Commissioner Stephen R. Deutsch gave Gammon the highest rank. Commission Chairman Bill Truex gave Gammon the lowest rating of a little above satisfactory.
“I think it leaves room for improvement,” Gammon said, cheerfully of Truex’s review.
Having five supervisors who can’t easily communicate with each other due to state laws is an interesting way to work, Gammon said.
“I’m enjoying it,” he said.
Commissioners praised Gammon for maintaining the office productivity with one less person, thus saving the county about $200,000. The board did not replace Gammon in his old job.
Gammon praised the two staff members who took over his prior job in business recruitment as well as business retention.
Of Kay Tracy and Amanda Benton, he said, “The two of them are knocking it out of the park in terms of bringing in new businesses.”
Constance also praised Gammon for generating interest in the Punta Gorda Airport, with possibilities pending for an airplane repair shop, a flight school and a flying car plant.
“You are off to a good start, and I look forward to continuing to grow together moving forward,” Truex wrote.