The Dade City Commission tackled a number of business items during a Sept. 27 regular meeting at City Hall.
This included finalizing administration-level employment contracts for its city attorney and finance officer, among other actions, respectively.
Commissioners approved a one-year agreement with Thomas Thanas, through the Bradenton-based firm of Dye, Harrison, Kirkland, Petruff, Pratt & St. Paul, PLLC to provide legal services for Dade City.
The action extends an agreement with Thanas, who has served as interim city attorney May 2019.
The annual contract for Thanas’ services will increase from $84,000 to $92,400, with the designated interim tag also removed.
Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez described Thanas as “a beacon of light” and “always helpful and always there,” while discussing the action item with commissioners.
Thanas has been an attorney since the 1980s.
He spent much of his career serving as a city attorney and a private practitioner representing municipalities primarily in the Chicago, Illinois area.
He also once served as city manager of Joliet — the third-largest city in Illinois — from 2008 to 2013.
The veteran lawyer shared positive words about working for the East Pasco County small town, addressing the commission.
“I really enjoy working with the (commission) and with the city staff,” Thanas said. “You have a lot of good things going on with this community, it’s a great community, and I enjoy being part of the time,” he said.
“…I’ve learned a lot by being around all of you, so I do enjoy it. We’ll continue on. I really do enjoy working here, and I’d like to continue it.”
Commissioners also approved an agreement with Tampa-based Aclarian LLC to provide accounting and financial services.
The move makes the Aclarian’s president, Andrew Laflin, the city’s contracted finance officer and removes the designated interim tag.
Laflin has served as the city’s interim finance officer since July 2020. His annual contracted rate with the city will now increase from $78,000 to 84,000.
Laflin’s duties have entailed assisting with the budgeting process, preparing for year-end audits, reviewing and approving payroll and non-payroll transactions, leading various projects such as fee studies, and providing leadership and guidance of the city’s finance and utility billing divisions.
Laflin’s firm provides similar consulting services to the City of Madeira Beach and City of Starke.
He expressed gratitude to city leadership for showing confidence in him to continue to provide financial consulting services, mostly in an off-site or virtual capacity.
“I think we’ve done some good, positive things in the finance group,” he said. “Faced some adversities and challenges, not only with COVID, but the cybersecurity incident and having limited access to our network and files and system, but we’ve persevered and look forward to seeing improvements in the future. And hopefully, being able to use technology and innovation in order to streamline business processes further and just make this a more efficient operation.”
In other action, commissioners:
- Approved a two-year collective bargaining agreement with the police sergeants of the Dade City Police Department through the West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association. Among the notable changes include new starting salaries for a sergeant being $50,000; and a pay step plan that creates a 2% increase for every year of service between years one and 14, along with a 5% increase at year 15 and another 5% increase at year 20.
- Approved changes to the city’s personnel leave policy, including the addition of Juneteenth to holiday observances; increased notice for reporting out sick from 30 minutes to an hour before the shift; and incorporated some updates to the Family and Medical Leave Act provisions, showing inclusion of qualified exigency leave and military caregiver leave.
Dade City Human Resources Director Patty Coram summarized the various personnel leave policy alterations to the commission.
“It’s kind of streamlining what everyone else is doing out there,” Coram said. “It seemed like a lot of entities were moving forward to celebrate Juneteenth; they jumped on that federal holiday, so we’d kind of like to move forward to enact that for our employees, also.”
Published October 06, 2021