By Susan Hill Smith for The Island Eye News
Isle of Palms City Administrator Linda Tucker scored well on her annual evaluation from City Council with one council member making a point to say that he thought she deserved even higher marks.
Overall, Tucker received a 4.29 out of a possible 5 based on input from the mayor and council members, who each turned in an evaluation form, scoring the city administrator in different areas.
Councilmember Patrick Harrington, chair of the Personnel Committee, presented the evaluation results to the council at its Feb. 28 meeting, which included all members except Jimmy Carroll.
“This excellent rating speaks to the overall high regard that council has for Mrs. Linda Tucker’s performance as our city administrator,” Harrington said. “Her service to the council and to the city of Isle of Palms is commendable and is most appreciated.” “Thank you,” Tucker replied.
But before the council could move on to other business, Councilmember Ted Kinghorn expanded the conversation.
“That is a very good evaluation,” Kinghorn said. “I’m surprised quite frankly it wasn’t higher. I would be interested in knowing what the range of scores were.”
“We had some evaluations as low as 1, being unacceptable, and we had many being 5, which is excellent,” Harrington replied, apparently referring to a low score by one council member in a particular area.
Harrington said he asked for and received written comments to explain any scores lower than a 3.
Kinghorn said, “For a 1, it would seem to me that would have to be something extraordinary, but I don’t believe we have any instances of wrongdoing, malfeasance, dereliction of duty. Were these identified at all in any of these evaluations?”
Harrington indicated that Tucker only received a score of 1 once in one area “and the concern was documented.”
“But it wasn’t one of the three things I just described?” Kinghorn said. “No,” Harrington replied.
“Given that, I would like to make a motion to acknowledge the fine work the city administrator is doing. It’s a 24-hour a day job. The city does not close,” said Kinghorn, adding that he wanted to have council’s support for Tucker’s “professionalism” as well as “the dedicated work of the staff” on record.
Before a vote, Councilmember Sandy Ferencz, a Personnel Committee member, spoke up.
“We’ve also looked at the fact that there were approximately five or six members of council that gave straight 5’s, every single question, every single line, and I think in those cases also we have to need to have some justification.” “Doesn’t that speak for itself?” Kinghorn said.
“It should be a learning tool. It should not be a detrimental tool,” Ferencz said of the evaluation.
“And I think she would appreciate those positive anecdotes instead of always getting the negative.”
Councilmember Carol Rice asked whether there were explanations of positive evaluations offered, and Harrington said several members offered comments for Tucker “as to why they thought she was doing an excellent job.” Kinghorn’s motion passed 8-0.