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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ Ashley Stathatos has been named the new city manager of the City of High Springs. City Commissioners held a Special Commission Meeting on Nov. 5 to finalize a contract with Stathatos, the top-ranked candidate for the city manager’s position. Stathatos of Anna, Texas was the top choice out of the 27 candidates who applied for the position.

Following the Commission’s decision, the city attorney conducted a customary background check and began negotiations with Stathatos on an employment contract. The contract, which is for a one-year-period beginning Nov. 30, 2020 and ending Nov. 29, 2021, automatically renews for successive one-year terms unless notice that the agreement shall terminate is given at least 90 days prior to the end of the contract term.

the city manager serves at the pleasure of the Commission. If she is terminated without cause at any time by a majority of the full commission, the City shall provide severance pay for a period of 20 weeks from the date of the City’s notification to terminate. If she is terminated with cause, she may appeal. If she is terminated for misconduct, severance pay is prohibited.

The agreement is similar to that negotiated for City Managers Ed Booth and Joel DeCoursey, Jr., but with a few changes. Stathatos is close to receiving certification in planning, something for which the City can benefit. The City agreed to pay for training materials, testing costs, travel and subsistence expenses in pursuit of the Certified Public Manager (CPM) and American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) designations.

Stathatos indicated her intention to become active in community organizations and asked that the City provide costs for dues or membership. This is another issue Commissioners agreed to.

In addition, the City originally offered to pay up to $4,000 toward relocation expenses. Stathatos has asked for more because she will likely have to buy her way out of a lease agreement in Texas and has no idea what costs will be to find a new location in or around High Springs. The City has agreed to a not-to-exceed $10,000 limit, providing Stathatos produces receipts showing her reasonable moving expenses.

Finding it helpful to use a touch-screen computer for her planning work, Stathatos has asked the City to provide that type of computer. Commissioners agreed to that as well.

In addition to her salary of $100,000 per year, Stathatos will receive a $3,900 per year vehicle allowance, retirement benefits through the Florida Retirement System and health, vision, life and limited insurance.

The city manager is required to reside within the city limits of High Springs. Due to lack of rental property in the city, Stathatos will likely not be able to rent immediately. Instead, she has agreed to either rent or buy in the city by July 2021.

Stathatos comes to the City of High Springs with more than 20 years of local government experience, including experience as a city manager. She has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Tech.

Current City Manager Joel DeCoursey, Jr. has accepted a position with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

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