The results of Lake Wales City Manager Terry Leary’s evaluation by city commissioners are a mixed bag.
In short, two commissioners gave her very high marks, two gave her very low marks and one came right in the middle.
Leary has some work to do in order to prove to the majority of the commission that her job performance is above average.
Commissioners turned in their evaluation forms this week, grading the manager’s performance on a scale of 1-5 in 18 categories. In each category, commissioners had a choice to give the city manager a grade of 1 (unacceptable), 2 (poor), 3 (acceptable), 4 (good) and 5 (excellent).
Commissioners graded Leary to get a sense of how Leary is doing managing our city government.
A chart, compiled by The Lake Wales News, can be seen on the top of the next page. The chart details how each commissioner graded the city manager, and we show the average score for each commissioner, including the average score Leary received from the commission as a whole.
Leary received an average score of 3.12 from the five commissioners. In a word, acceptable.
What Leary, commissioners and the residents of Lake Wales need to decide is if acceptable is good enough.
Leary has been city manager for a year, replacing Judy Delmar, who spent years as the assistant city manager. Delmar replaced a competent and popular city manager, Tony Otte, who was fired by a commission majority that no longer exists.
Leary has done an adequate (dare we say acceptable) job of managing the city’s day-to-day affairs. There has been no major crisis during her watch.
One of the common themes found in her evaluations was that she needed to set more goals for herself and city departments.
Perhaps Leary has goals, but if she does, she does not appear to have presented those goals to her bosses or the public.
Leary’s acceptable evaluation is probably accurate. But what the public and the commission have to ask themselves is if acceptable is good enough.
We think Lake Wales deserves above average leadership and our elected officials have every right to ask for it.
Perhaps the commission and Leary have not talked about what her goals are for the city and how she intends to reach those goals.
When commissioners meet next month to talk about the city manager’s evaluation, the city manager should communicate those goals clearly and ask her five bosses what she can do to move from acceptable to excellent.