FELLSMERE – Faced with a too-tight budget, the Fellsmere City Council apologized to City Clerk Debbie Krages for not being able to give her a much-deserved raise after she earned high marks on her annual evaluation.
“I appreciate your gesture,” Krages told the council Thursday evening, “but I don’t think it would be right.” No other city staff members received a raise this fiscal year due to budget constraints.
“I think that in itself speaks volumes of the type of employee she is,” Councilwoman Sara Savage said.
Councilman Joel Tyson agreed, adding that Krages’ sentiment does not diminish the fact that she deserves a raise.
Krages is a 20-year employee of the city and is currently the longest serving full time member of the city’s staff.
Mayor Susan Adams readdressed Krages’ requests for support staff in both her evaluation and remarks at the council meeting.
“She is her own department and we need to take steps to add depth (i.e. employees) in her dept.,” Adams wrote in the evaluation.
The mayor told the council that Krages needs an assistant if for no other reason than for continuity’s sake.
“If Debbie decides she wants to retire and move to Fiji next year, I wouldn’t know what to do or where to find anything,” Adams said.
Savage added that both City Clerk Krages and City Manager Jason Nunemaker put in more than 40 hours each week.
“Debbie works at home, on the weekends and nights and she’s always here first one in the morning,” Savage said. “That kind of dedication you don’t find anymore.”
Savage half-joked that Krages should award herself with a plaque – something she could hang on the wall. A crystal vase, an engraved cake plate, and platter were also suggested.
Of a maximum 625 points Krages could have scored on her evaluation, she earned 570 – a 91 percent grade. Tyson gave Krages the maximum amount of 125, while Mayor Adams awarded Krages 106 points.
Krages earns more than $67,000 and her contract with the city has no end date.
“You’re officially safe until this time next year,” Mayor Adams said.