Volusia County Manager George Recktenwald and County Attorney Michael Dyer will each receive a 4% raise, approved by the Volusia County Council in two 5-1 votes on Tuesday, Dec. 20 after discussing performance evaluations.
Recktenwald's salary will go from $237,217.76 to $246,706.470; Dyer's will increase from $221,738.40 to $230,607.936.
Only County Council Chair Jeff Brower voted against, voicing that it wasn't because he wasn't happy with their job performance, but because he wished to wait on his evaluations until the issue regarding the investigation into Corrections Director Mark Flowers is resolved.
"For me, I think it's premature to evaluate and discuss a raise until the results of that investigation are done, because I believe that the county manager and the county attorney are serious about having an independent, fair evaluation, and I believe that's underway," Brower said. "I don't want to give out any false ideas that there's other underlying problems. I have a very good working relationship with the county manager and the county attorney."
On Dec. 9, Volusia County issued a press release stating it sought to fire Flowers after an internal affairs investigation allegedly revealed he created a hostile work environment and violated inmates' rights at the county jail; Flowers, in turn, claims the county retaliated against him for blowing the whistle on inmate abuse. Browers said that, at Recktenwald's request, Flowers has been given more time to respond to the county and perform his own investigation.
The rest of the council members proceeded with the evaluations, with the majority saying their evaluations were supposed to cover an entire year's worth of actions taken, and shouldn't be reliant on one issue.
"I'm going to evaluate them on their overall performance of what I have seen this past year," Councilman Ben Johnson said.
Some of the leadership actions taken this year by Recktenwald that were highlighted by council members included the county's increased social media presence, better contracts negotiated for the county's first responders, the pursuit of grants for critical projects, the addition of 41 positions to the county's public protections department, increase of communication between the county and its municipalities and how Recktenwald managed staff as the COVID-19 pandemic continued.
"I have the utmost respect and trust in his ability and he's by far one of the most knowledgeable people that I've seen here in Volusia County in all aspects of this," Councilman Danny Robins said.
Recktenwald thanked the council members for their faith in him.
"I'm also grateful to hear you compliment the team," he said. "Because it is the team, and when I took this position, for me it was all about the team and the chance to build a team that I knew was coming, and that's my proudest accomplishment — is the people that I work with every day."
Council members praised Dyer for always providing comprehensive information to them, his navigation through significant settlements and always making himself available when he is needed.
"Each time something's been accomplished, you've identified how that was done, who did it and gave them kudos for it," Councilwoman Barb Girtman said. "And I think that says a lot about a leader."