The Village Council tentatively approved a three-year, $195,000 salary on Tuesday for incoming manager Steve Williamson, who’s expected to formally start Key Biscayne’s top job May 10.
“I’m honored and I’m excited to get to work. I’ve met a lot of people already,” Williamson said. A Coral Gables resident, Williamson said he’s looking forward to “having the best commute in the world” over the causeway to the island.
The compensation package was negotiated between Williamson’s attorney Don Slesnick and Council Member Ed London, who presented the general terms to his fellow council members in Tuesday’s “hybrid” council meeting — a format that excludes the public from in-person attendance. The formal contract will be voted on at the next hybrid meeting May 6.
In addition to salary, the tentative deal calls for a 401(k) employer contribution of up to 12 percent of pay, four weeks of paid vacation, three weeks of sick leave and four personal days. There’s also a Village-paid mobile phone and laptop, and a $250 monthly car allowance.
London noted the Village will be paying about $47,000 less for Williamson than it would have spent if former manager Andrea Agha had stayed another year. In addition to the lower salary, Williamson will opt out of the Village’s group medical/dental plan. Agha left office Jan. 1.
Council members differed on the length of Williamson’s contract — some arguing that a longer deal would be a boost of confidence, while others said the five-year contract made with Agha proved too long a period for a formal renewal process. London said Williamson would agree to a two-year deal, but members voted 4-3 for a three-year pact.
If the Village terminates the contract early, it will pay three months’ severance, unless the termination is “for cause,” which would entitle Williamson to appeal his decision at a public meeting. Williamson is obliged to provide 90 days notice if he leaves employment voluntarily.
Williamson, a former Army colonel, was the capital projects chief for the City of Miami, emerging from a final group of four candidates and finally besting Brian Lynch, a former executive for many public and private companies, in a 4-3 vote. Williamson had the backing of Council Members London, Frank Caplan, Luis Lauredo, and Brett Moss, while Lynch had support from Mayor Davey, and Council Members Allison McCormick and Ignacio Segurola, according to the Village clerk.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.